Case details

Defense claimed minor crash could not have aggravated spine





Result type

Not present

back, lower back, neck
On April 9, 2012, plaintiff Brian Levin, a salesman/entrepreneur in his 20s, was driving a Mercedes-Benz on Santa Monica Boulevard, in Los Angeles, with plaintiff Graciela Espinoza as a front seat passenger. Their vehicle was ultimately rear-ended by a BMW operated by Yaron Sadka. Levin claimed to his neck and back. Levin and Espinoza sued Yaron Sadka and the co-owner of the vehicle, Rubin Sadka. Levin and Espinoza alleged that Yaron Sadka was negligent in the operation of the BMW and that Rubin Sadka was vicariously liable for Yaron Sadka’s actions. Espinoza settled out of the case prior to trial. The defendants admitted liability for the collision., Levin claimed that within hours of the collision, he felt pain immediately to his lower back and neck. He did not present for medical care for several weeks, as he allegedly had other things going on and thought his would resolve. Levin had pre-existing lower back and neck , which he claimed had resolved at least a month prior to the accident. However, he claimed the subject accident aggravated his prior , causing him to be symptomatic again. As a result, Levin underwent two rounds of physical therapy and followed up with an orthopedic surgeon. He also underwent a neurosurgical evaluation and two MRIs, was administered epidural injections of steroid-based painkillers. The plaintiff’s treating neurosurgeon who performed the epidural injections opined that Levin would ultimately require surgery consisting of a lumbar fusion. Thus, Levin sought recovery of $500,000, including $34,000 in past medical costs, over $200,000 for the future lumbar fusion, and damages for his pain and suffering. Defense counsel argued that the accident was so minor that it could not have caused any to Levin. Counsel contended that Levin’s delay in seeking medical care caused doubt that he suffered any significant aggravation. Defense counsel argued that Levin was not credible in his reporting of his , his past medical problems, and his medical history. Specifically, counsel noted that although Levin claimed he was not symptomatic for at least one month before the subject accident, there was a chiropractic record that showed that days before the subject accident, Levin was treating for the same issues. Defense counsel also presented Levin’s own internet videos and postings of his various activities in order to impeach him. The defense’s orthopedic surgery expert opined that, at most, Levin sustained a sprain or a temporary aggravation of his pre-existing . The expert also opined that Levin’s condition had fully resolved and that Levin was back to baseline within months of the accident. The defense’s biomechanical expert testified about the forces of impact, the severity of the accident, and the potential for injury. Thus, the expert opined that the forces in the subject accident were insufficient to have caused the Levin claimed.
Superior Court of Los Angeles County, Central Civil West, CA

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