Case details

Driver denied being the cause of multiple vehicle collision  





Result type

Not present

foot, fracture, heel, Lisfranc injury
On July 23, 2012, plaintiff Richard Samkow, 39, a salesperson, was driving in the first, northbound lane (the outer-left lane) of the six-lane San Diego Freeway, also known as Interstate 405, when his Mini Cooper sub-compact car broadsided a Toyota Corolla sedan driven by Nedda Shahandeh near the Ventura Freeway, also known as U.S. Route 101, in San Fernando Valley. Prior to Samkow’s collision, Shahandeh was driving in the third lane from the left when she allegedly rear-ended a phantom vehicle and was rear-ended by a vehicle driven by Steven Brass. The impact caused Shahandeh to exit the lane, cross the second lane, enter the first lane, and then strike a concrete median barrier. The driver’s side of her car was then broadsided by Samkow, who was then rear-ended by a Mercedes Benz driven by Madhukar Sood. In the aftermath of the impacts, the Sood vehicle was allegedly sideswiped by Honda CRV driven Karapet Asataryan. Samkow suffered a foot injury from the frontal impact and a passenger in Sood’s Mercedes, Debika Sen, also claimed that she was injured. Samkow sued Shahandeh, Brass, and Sood, alleging that the drivers were negligent in the operation of their respective vehicles. Sen filed a separate suit against Shahandeh, Brass, and Sood, as well as against Asataryan and Samkow. Sen also alleged that the drivers were negligent in the operation of their respective vehicles. The matters were ultimately consolidated. Sen settled with Sood, and her claims were dismissed against Shahandeh and Samkow. Brass and Asataryan were also let out of Sen’s action. In addition, Samkow settled with Sood and Brass for undisclosed amounts prior to trial. Thus, the matter proceeded to trial on Samkow’s claims against Shahandeh only. Samkow’s accident reconstruction expert opined that the sequence of the accidents was the result of Shahandeh initially striking the phantom vehicle. Shahandeh maintained that Brass initially rear-ended her, which caused her to strike the phantom vehicle and then exit the lane, setting off the multi-vehicle collision. Shahandeh’s accident reconstruction expert testified that Brass set everything into motion by initially rear-ending Shahandeh. The expert based his conclusion on the rotation of the vehicles based on the impacts and other data from his investigation.  , Samkow was diagnosed with fractures of his right foot’s second and third metatarsals. He claimed he fractured his foot upon slamming on the brake pedal. Samkow was subsequently picked up by his parents and driven to an emergency room, where his right foot was placed in a cast. After being discharged from the hospital, he followed up with an orthopedic surgeon. Samkow remained non-weight-bearing for six months. He eventually relied on crutches, then a cane, and then a walking boot. Upon weight-bearing again, Samkow underwent a course of physical therapy and acupuncture through September 2013, at which time he was released to return to work. No further treatment was administered. However, Samkow testified that he now walks with a limp and is unable to stand for long periods of time. He alleged that as a result, he needs to take more breaks at his job at the men’s-clothing retail store. He also alleged that he is no longer able to pursue his hobbies as a weightlifter and rollerblader. Samkow’s orthopedics expert opined that the accident caused Samkow to suffer a Lis franc injury, which will require an open reduction and internal fixation. The proposed surgery was estimated to cost $65,000. Samkow’s coding and billing expert testified that Samkow’s past and future medical costs were reasonable and necessary. Samkow’s vocational rehabilitation expert testified that, based on the foot injury, Samkow’s work life had been shortened by nine years. Thus, Samkow sought recovery of approximately $25,000 in past medical costs, $65,000 in future medical costs, around $55,000 in past lost wages for 13 months of missed work, and roughly $567,000 in future lost wages. He also sought recovery of damages for his past and future pain and suffering. Shahandeh’s counsel did not dispute Samkow’s and treatment, and Shahandeh’s coding and billing expert agreed to Samkow’s past medical expenses. However, the defense expert disputed Samkow’s calculation of future medical and surgical costs, and estimated that Samkow’s future medical costs would only total $15,000. Shahandeh’s vocational rehabilitation expert opined that Samkow returned to work full-time with no restrictions and that Samkow earned just as much, if not more, than he did prior to the accident. Shahandeh’s economics expert also opined that Samkow would have no reduced work life, so Samkow would sustain no future economic damages. Shahandeh’s counsel had hired two investigators to conduct surveillance on Samkow at different times prior to trial. One of the investigators testified that Samkow walked normally, both at his home and at work, and that there was no evidence that Samkow’s gait was impaired.  
Superior Court of Los Angeles County, Santa Monica, CA

Recommended Experts


Get a FREE consultation for your case