Case details

Defense denied plaintiff was injured in rear-end collision





Result type

Not present

back, neck, spondylosis
On April 26, 2011, at 9 a.m., plaintiff Angela Mallakis, 45, a marriage and family counselor, was driving her 2001 Lexus LS430 on southbound State Route 55, near McFadden Avenue in Santa Ana, when she was rear-ended by Abdolrahman Aminloo, who was driving a Mercedes Benz sedan. Mallakis’ car sustained about $1,400 in damage, and Aminloo’s car was repaired for about $700. Mallakis claimed she injured her back and neck in the accident. Mallakis sued Abdolrahman Aminloo and the owner of the Mercedes Benz, Kamran Aminloo. Mallakis alleged that Abdolrahman Aminloo was negligent in the operation of the Mercedes and that Kamran Aminloo was vicariously liable for the driver’s actions. The Aminloos ultimately admitted liability., Mallakis claimed the back of her driver’s seat collapsed into the rear seat, which caused her to sustain soft-tissue to her neck and back, and an aggravation of her pre-existing spondylosis. She subsequently treated with her primary care physician, and attended several rounds of physical therapy over the next three years. In 2013, she was treated with pain management from a physical medicine and rehabilitation doctor. Mallakis claimed that her complaints resolved about five months before trial. The plaintiff’s retained orthopedic surgery expert testified that Mallakis was injured in the minor accident and that all of the treatment Mallakis received was reasonable and necessary. The expert also testified that since Mallakis’ complaints had resolved, it showed that Mallakis had sustained sprain/strain in the accident, which would have resolved and not lingered as arthritis does. The video deposition of the plaintiff’s non-retained, treating physical medicine and rehabilitation doctor was played at trial. The physician testified that since Mallakis’ complaints began after the accident, and since Mallakis made no prior similar complaints, the accident caused Mallakis’ . Thus, Mallakis sought recovery of about $30,000 in damages, including about $9,640 in past medical expenses over the three-year period after the accident. Defense counsel disputed the causation for Mallakis’ , as well as disputed the nature and extent of Mallakis’ alleged and damages. Specifically, counsel argued that the minor accident was a non-injury incident and that the plaintiff’s treating physical medicine and rehabilitation doctor first saw Mallakis nearly two years after the subject accident. The defense’s retained automotive expert testified that he inspected Mallakis’ Lexus and found no structural damage to the rear bumper. He also testified that the seat back did not collapse as Mallakis alleged, noting that the physical evidence, including the gears and other parts, did not show that the collapsing occurred at all. Thus, defense counsel argued that Mallakis wanted the jury to believe that the seat back collapsed, so that a mechanism of injury would exist. The defense’s retained orthopedic expert testified that Mallakis was not injured in the accident since the evidence presented in court was that the seat back did not collapse. However, the expert opined that Mallakis may have sustained a mild sprain/strain with some neck pain for a few days. The expert testified that had the seat collapsed, Mallakis could have sustained a mild injury, requiring only about five weeks of physical therapy. In addition, defense counsel argued that any pain alleged by Mallakis was pre-existing. Defense counsel contended that although Mallakis denied having any prior similar complaints at deposition, and in response to written discovery, Mallakis’ medical records reflected that she had the same complaints, including back pain, one year before the accident and that Mallakis sought physical therapy for these complaints prior to the accident. Thus, defense counsel asked the jury to render a defense verdict. In response, Mallakis testified that any prior complaints she did have were just a “blip” in her life and that she had easily forgotten about them.
Superior Court of Orange County, Santa Ana, CA

Recommended Experts


Get a FREE consultation for your case