Case details

Motorcyclist: Intersection crash caused cervical injuries





Result type

Not present

back, bulging disc, cervical, disc protrusion, fusion, knee, knees, legs, neck, nerve impingement, neurological, radicular pain, radiculitis, wrists
On the morning of Sept. 16, 2011, plaintiff Alexander Orlik, 32, an ophthalmologic technician, was riding his Kawasaki motorcycle to work, traveling on southbound Hayvenhurst Avenue in Encino. While in the number two lane, nearing the intersection with Ventura Boulevard, Orlik crashed into a vehicle operated by Rita Fongyu Hsiung, who was attempting a left turn from northbound Hayvenhurst Avenue onto a driveway. Orlik was subsequently ejected from his motorcycle, allegedly his neck, back, wrists, legs and knees. Orlik sued Hsiung, alleging the defendant was negligent in the operation of her vehicle. Orlik claimed that he was traveling between 20 and 25 mph at the time of the accident and that Hsiung failed to yield to oncoming traffic while making her left turn into the driveway. The plaintiff’s accident reconstruction expert opined that Orlik did not have sufficient time to stop his motorcycle once Hsiung’s vehicle became visible to Orlik and entered his lane. Hsiung admitted fault, but claimed that Orlik was comparatively at fault for causing the accident., Orlik complained of pain to his neck, back, wrists, legs and knees. He initially treated his with physical therapy, but claimed his symptoms persisted. Most notably, he claimed he suffered pain/numbness in his neck that radiated into his upper left extremity. A cervical MRI was ultimately taken roughly six months post-accident and revealed a 4-millimeter disc protrusion at C5-6 and a 2- to 3-millimeter disc bulge at C6-7, causing severe neuroforaminal narrowing on the left side and moderate to severe neuroforaminal narrowing on the right side with impingement on the existing nerve roots bilaterally (greater on the left than right). Orlik subsequently received a series of epidural injections, which he claimed provided some relief. He was also referred to a spine surgeon due to alleged ongoing pain and radicular symptoms. On Feb. 11, 2013, Orlik underwent a cervical discectomy and interbody fusion at C5-6, with an interbody graft and plate arthrodesis. Orlik claimed the February 2013 procedure was successful and resolved his primary pain complaints. However, he claimed he still experiences some occasional tingling in his left hand/arm. Orlik also claimed that his did not prevent, but impeded his ability to work as an ophthalmologic technician. Thus, Orlik sought recovery of roughly $145,000 in past medical costs, and unspecified amounts for future medical costs and past loss of earnings. He also sought recovery of damages for his pain and suffering. Defense counsel disputed the nature and extent of Orlik’s alleged and damages, and the defense’s neuroradiology expert testified that the MRI findings were degenerative in nature. Defense counsel further argued that Orlik did not require any surgical intervention.
Superior Court of Los Angeles County, Santa Monica, CA

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