Case details

Defense claimed improper lane change led to accident





Result type

Not present

back, back pain, cervical, cervical sprain., fusion, herniated disc, lower back, lumbar, neck, sprain
On March 21, 2013, plaintiff Nvard Chaglasian, 24, was a backseat passenger in a Chevrolet Silverado that was traveling west on Victory Boulevard, in the Van Nuys section of Los Angeles. While approaching the intersection with Sepulveda Boulevard, Chaglasian’s truck was involved in a collision with a Toyota Tundra operated by Yevhen Khoptar. During the accident, the passenger’s side of the Silverado and the driver’s side of the Tundra made contact. Chaglasian claimed she suffered to her neck and back. Her husband, plaintiff Alexsander Yazichyan, in his mid-30s, was sitting in the front seat of the Silverado at the time of the accident. He also alleged to his neck and back. Chaglasian and Yazichyan sued Khoptar. The alleged that Khoptar was negligent in the operation of the Tundra. Prior to trial, Khoptar agreed to tender his $15,000 policy limit in order to settle with Yazichyan. Chaglasian claimed that Khoptar was parked along westbound Victory Boulevard prior to the accident. Thus, Chaglasian, Yazichyan, and the driver of the Silverado testified that Khoptar improperly pulled away from the curb and struck their truck. The plaintiff’s accident reconstruction expert agreed with Chaglasian’s theory of the accident. He testified that, based upon the physical damage to both trucks, Khoptar most likely struck Chaglasian’s vehicle by leaving a parked position. Khoptar denied striking the Silverado by pulling away from a parking space. Instead, he claimed that he was in the right lane when the driver of the Silverado improperly came into his lane and caused the collision. However, Khoptar testified that regardless of how the accident occurred, he did not see Chaglasian at the accident scene. The defense’s accident reconstruction expert determined that the damage pattern of the vehicles supported Khoptar’s version of the collision., Chaglasian presented to a chiropractor with complaints of pain to her neck and lower back five days after the accident, on March 26, 2013. She subsequently treated with the chiropractor for several months, during which she was referred to a neurosurgeon who diagnosed her with an L5-S1 disc herniation and a cervical sprain. Chaglasian claimed that her cervical sprain resolved within months of her chiropractic care, but that she continued to suffer pain to her lower back after her chiropractic treatment ended. She claimed that as a result, she continued to see her treating neurosurgeon through 2013, during which time she received three epidural injections from a pain management specialist. With conservative treatment unsuccessful, it was determined that Chaglasian required surgery. Thus, on Feb. 24, 2014, Chaglasian underwent an anterior discectomy and fusion, which allegedly helped her discomfort. Thereafter, she followed up with her neurosurgeon on a few more occasions, and then received no further treatment. Chaglasian claimed that although surgery helped her discomfort, she still suffers ongoing back pain, which causes her to tire easily and restricts her performing household activities and taking care of her children. The plaintiff’s treating pain management specialist and neurosurgeon testified about Chaglasian’s and treatment, and causally related them to the accident. The neurosurgeon also opined that Chaglasian will most likely suffer an early onset of arthritis in the adjacent L5-S1 discs, which may cause instability. Thus, Chaglasian sought recovery of approximately $160,000 in outstanding medical costs, between $350,000 and $525,000 in damages for her past pain and suffering, and between $350,000 and $525,000 in (trebled) damages for her future pain and suffering. The defense’s radiology expert, citing Chaglasian’s surgical films, testified that the plaintiff’s treating neurosurgeon did not fuse Chaglasian’s L5-S1 disc, but, in fact, fused her S1-2 disc. The defense’s expert orthopedic surgeon opined that the plaintiff’s treating neurosurgeon went in and did an unnecessary surgery by carving out and dissecting a rudimentary disc that did not cause pain and did not require a fusion or hardware to be implanted. In response, the plaintiff’s treating neurosurgeon denied fusing Chaglasian’s S1-2 disc, and maintained that he properly fused the L5-S1 disc. The physician also pointed to the fact that Chaglasian experienced improvement following the procedure.
Superior Court of Los Angeles County, Van Nuys, CA

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