Case details

Defense: Low-speed collision did not cause alleged injuries





Result type

Not present

cervical spine, neck, pain
On Oct. 8, 2012, plaintiff Shahla Farahmand, 67, was a front seat passenger in a Toyota Camry being driven by her husband. They were traveling on Wilshire Boulevard, in Beverly Hills, when they came to a stop at the intersection with Beverly Boulevard. While stopped at the intersection, their Camry was rear-ended by a sport utility vehicle operated by John Ward, II. Farahmand claimed to her neck. Farahmand sued Ward, alleging that Ward was negligent in the operation of his vehicle. Plaintiff’s counsel contended that Ward was traveling at “full speed,” at 60 mph, or at a speed sufficient to cause a Delta-v, or change in velocity, of 5 mph. Defense counsel contended that the incident involved a low-speed automobile accident. Ward claimed that he was stopped behind the Farahmand vehicle for 45 seconds, but that while he was doing something else within the vehicle, he allowed his foot to come off the brake. He claimed that as a result, his SUV rolled into the Camry, overriding the bumper. Defense counsel noted that although the plaintiff’s expert testified that the Delta-v was 5 mph, the expert also stated that it was 2G’s, which the defense’s biomechanics expert testified is similar to a Delta-v of 3 mph., Farahmand claimed that the accident aggravated her pre-existing, nonsymptomatic degenerative cervical spine. She alleged that she had no neck symptoms preceding the accident, but that the day after the incident, she had to present to her primary care physician, who she had treating with for 20 years, at UCLA Medical Center, in Santa Monica. Farahmand eventually underwent conservative care, including epidural injections, but she claimed it did not alleviate her symptoms. As a result, about nine months after the accident, Farahmand underwent an anterior cervical fusion at two levels. Farahmand claimed that following the surgery, she developed a very significant hoarseness in her voice, which is still there two years later. She also claimed that her previous asymptomatic condition remains symptomatic after the accident. Thus, Farahmand sought recovery of damages for her past and future pain and suffering, as well as recovery of medical costs, including approximately $39,000 stipulated past medical expenses, after Howell reductions. Her husband, Daryoush Farahmand, presented a derivative claim, seeking recovery for his loss of consortium. Defense noted that Mrs. Farahmand made no injury claims at the scene and that the plaintiff’s treating physician rendered no opinion on causation.
Superior Court of Los Angeles County, Santa Monica, CA

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