Case details

Defense: Plaintiff exaggerated her symptoms following crash





Result type

Not present

brain, brain injury, cognition, head, headaches, impairment, mental, psychological, subarachnoid hemorrhage, traumatic brain injury
On Feb. 28, 2016, plaintiff Wisela Benton, 60, a licensed vocational nurse, was driving in Los Angeles when her vehicle was broadsided by a vehicle operated by Gloria Moctezuma. The impact forced Benton’s vehicle into a light pole. Both vehicles were totaled. Benton claimed to her neck and head. Benton sued Moctezuma and Moctezuma’s employer, Leon Krous Drilling Inc., which also owned Moctezuma’s vehicle. Benton alleged that Moctezuma was negligent in the operation of her vehicle and that Leon Krous Drilling was vicariously liable for Moctezuma’s actions. The defendants admitted responsibility for the crash., Benton claimed she sustained blunt force trauma to her head, resulting in a brain injury, and an injury to her neck. She was initially treated at St. Vincent Medical Center, in Los Angeles, where a subarachnoid hemorrhage was found on CT scan. She was then treated at a Kaiser facility, where a subdural hematoma was found in a different location of her brain. Benton was referred to a pain management specialist, and to experts in neurology, psychology, neuropsychology and orthopedics, all on liens. The plaintiff’s experts opined that Benton sustained head , causing cognitive defects and constant level nine headaches. They also opined that Benton sustained a cervical disc injury. In addition, the experts opined that Benton suffers from right sided weakness, a post-traumatic stress disorder, adjustment disorders and significant depression as a result of the accident, resulting in reduced activities of daily living. Benton claimed that she suffered a loss of income of $58,182 for the two months she was off from work, plus a 50 percent reduction in the future hours she would have been able to work. She also claimed that her past medical expenses exceeded $56,000 and that her life care plan included $269,254 in future care for epidural steroid injections to the cervical spine; psychiatric, spinal surgery and ophthalmology consultations; psychological and cognitive therapy; and pain management/physical therapy. Benton also sought recovery of damages for her past and future pain and suffering. Defense counsel asserted that all objective resolved uneventfully within two months and that the remainder of Benton’s care was attorney-directed, lien-based treatment that was not necessary, reasonable or legitimately billed. Counsel also asserted that Benton was also able to return to work as a licensed vocational nurse, as Benton disclosed no physical or mental problems to her employer. The defense’s medical experts reported multiple failed validity scales, which allegedly indicated that Benton was exaggerating and misrepresenting her symptoms.
Superior Court of Los Angeles County, Los Angeles, CA

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