Case details

Motorcyclist suffered multiple fractures in intersection crash





Result type

Not present

chest, fracture, rib
On Oct. 14, 2011, plaintiff Gregory Neidiger, 30, an electrician, was operating his Ducati motorcycle on westbound 6th Street in Oakland when he entered the intersection with Jackson Street and collided with a delivery truck operated by Harpreet Malhi, who was traveling on southbound Jackson Street. Neidiger sustained to his pelvis, ribs, back and lung. Neidiger sued the delivery driver, Malhi; Malhi’s employer, H.M. Express, LLC; the company that H.M. Express was in a contract to do deliveries for, Dynamex Operations West Inc.; and the owner of the delivery truck, Kashmir Mutti. Neidiger claimed his light was green for about two seconds before he entered the intersection and collided with the delivery truck. In addition, the plaintiff’s accident reconstruction expert testified that Malhi had entered the intersection when the light had been red for approximately 3.5 seconds. Malhi claimed he entered the intersection on a yellow light and still had control of the intersection. He also claimed that Neidiger did not stop before entering the intersection. In addition, Malhi alleged that Neidiger was lane splitting on his motorcycle at 15 to 20 mph and that when the light changed from red to green, he continued into the intersection without stopping. This was not disputed by Neidiger., Neidiger sustained a fracture of the acetabulum and multiple fractures of the pelvis, ribs and spinous process of a vertebra, as well as sustained a collapsed lung. He was subsequently taken to Highland Hospital in Oakland and remained hospitalized for four days. Neidiger then took three months off from work to recover and treated with one month of physical therapy, as well as one month of acupuncture. Neidiger claimed that he continued to suffer severe, daily hip pain, which left him unable to squat or engage in recreational activities that he once enjoyed, such as bicycling, yoga and hiking. Although unaware of it until he was injured in the accident, Neidiger had a pre-existing developmental condition called femoroacetabular impingement syndrome, which had caused him to develop moderate to severe arthritis in both hips before the accident. However, he claimed that he had no prior history of hip pain and that the subject collision had “lit up” previously asymptomatic arthritis. The plaintiff’s medical experts opined that Neidiger is an early candidate for bilateral hip replacements in five years. One of the plaintiff’s orthopedic surgery experts, Dr. Jacob Tauber, opined that Neidiger’s arthritic condition had advanced significantly since the accident and that the crash was a substantial factor in requiring Neidiger to have bilateral hip replacements early. He further opined that without the accident, Neidiger could have gone well into his 50s’s without needing surgery. The plaintiff’s other expert orthopedic surgeon, Dr.Kenneth Sieber, opined that it was possible that Neidiger’s asymptomatic arthritis had become symptomatic due to trauma. In addition, the plaintiff’s orthopedic experts opined that Neidiger should consider a different line of work because doing heavy physical labor work would further aggravate his arthritic condition and accelerate the need for a hip replacement. Defense counsel stipulated to Neidiger’s past medical expenses and three months of wage loss, but disputed the need for future medical treatment as being related to the accident. Counsel contended that Neidiger had moderate to severe pre-existing arthritis due to his prior FAI syndrome and that his arthritic condition was not aggravated by the accident. The defense’s orthopedic surgery expert, Dr. Stefan Jibodh, who was a treating physician non-retained by plaintiff’s counsel as an expert, opined that Neidiger’s pre-existing degenerative condition could have been aggravated by the accident, but also testified that he has many patients with FAI-induced arthritis who have had an onset of pain similar to Neidiger’s without any trauma. The defense’s other orthopedic surgery expert, Dr. Steven Woolson, testified that the pelvic fractures and acetabular fracture had not aggravated the pre-existing arthritis. The expert opined that it was medically probable that Neidiger had minor symptoms before the accident, which Neidiger did not recognize as hip arthritis, and that his post-accident symptoms were all consistent with his pre-existing hip condition. The defense’s radiology expert testified that Neidiger’s right acetabular fracture had healed without any change in the underlying degenerative condition and that there had been only slight advancement of the arthritis since the accident. He also testified that the advancement was bilateral and that there was no evidence the change was due to trauma.
Superior Court of Alameda County, Oakland, CA

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