Case details

Defense disputed injuries alleged from separate crashes





Result type

Not present

back, brain, brain injury, cognition, emotional distress, fusion, head, headaches, impairment, lumbar head, mental, neck, neurological, neurological impairment, pain, psychological, soft tissue, traumatic brain injury
At approximately 4:10 p.m. on March 29, 2013, plaintiff Pamela Wolffe, 67 was driving a 2001 Ford F-250 pickup truck, which was owned by her daughter, plaintiff Jzenica Pierson, 41, who was a front seat passenger. When they just east of the intersection with Wolcott Way, traveling on westbound State Route 126, also known as Henry Mayo Drive, in the city of Santa Clarita, their vehicle was rear-ended by a 2005 Toyota Prius operated by Martha Guzman. Later that day, Pierson was driving the 2001 Ford F-250 pickup truck, with Wolffe as a passenger, when their vehicle was again struck. This time, it was struck on the right, rear side by a 2004 Honda Element operated by Timothy Benedict. Wolffe and Pierson sued Martha Guzman; Timothy Benedict; and the registered owner of Timothy Benedict’s vehicle, Thomas Benedict. Wolffe and Pierson alleged that Guzman and Timothy Benedict were negligent in the operation of their respective vehicles. They also alleged that Thomas Benedict was vicariously liable for Timothy Benedict’s actions. Wolffe and Pierson claimed that Guzman failed to keep a proper lookout and stop in time to avoid hitting them. They also claimed that Timothy Benedict failed to yield the right of way to their vehicle. Guzman admitted that she could not stop her vehicle in time, and all defendants ultimately conceded liability., Wolffe claimed that she suffered soft-tissue neck and back , along with neurological issues, headaches and cognitive problems, as a result of the accidents. She was not taken to a hospital after the first accident, but she ultimately underwent MRI’s, physical therapy, and pain management that included epidural injections, facet blocks and a spinal cord stimulator procedure. She also underwent neurological examinations and extensive neuropsychological testing. Wolffe claimed she suffered a head injury in each accident, resulting in cognitive issues and a traumatic brain injury. She alleged that as a result, she will need future care, including a life care plan with the need for 24-hour-a-day attendant care and other treatment in excess of $1 million. She also alleged that she will require additional orthopedic treatment, including a lumbar fusion surgery. Pierson was taken by ambulance to a hospital after the first accident. However, she did not return to a hospital after the second crash. Pierson claimed that her were essentially soft-tissue to her neck and back. She also claimed she suffered headaches with continuing residual complaints. In addition, Pierson claimed she suffered emotional distress as a result of her mother’s . However, she did not undergo counseling. According to defense counsel, the plaintiffs’ pre-trial demand was $3.5 million. Defense counsel contended that if causation was found, the plaintiffs’ were nothing more than soft-tissue . However, counsel argued that Wolffe did not sustain any brain injury and did not need the treatment outlined by the alleged life care plan. Counsel also argued that Wolffe’s future surgery was not necessary as a result of either accident. Counsel for both Guzman and the Benedicts prevailed on motions for non-suit regarding some of the plaintiffs’ alleged and damages. As a result, the amount of claims and medical specials that could be considered was reduced.
Superior Court of Los Angeles County, Santa Monica, CA

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