Case details

Passenger claimed collision caused need for lumbar surgery




Mediated Settlement

Result type

Not present

disfigurement, face, nose, scar
On Feb. 2, 2015, plaintiff Josefina Mota, 42, a field worker, was a passenger in a transportation van traveling on State Route 33, in McKittrick. As the van’s driver was proceeding through the intersection with Reward Road, the van was broadsided in the area where Mota was sitting by a pickup truck operated by Jose Louis Cervantes Jr. Mota claimed to her face and back. Mota sued Cervantes and Cervantes’ employer, Soli-Bond Inc. Mota alleged that Cervantes was negligent in the operation of his vehicle and that Soli-Bond was vicariously liable as Cervantes’ employer. Plaintiff’s counsel noted that while a stop sign at the intersection had been knocked down in an unrelated crash, Cervantes admitted to the California highway patrol officer investigating the crash that he was familiar with the area and had knowledge that there was normally a stop sign posted on eastbound Reward Road at the intersection with SR-33. Counsel also noted that the white limit line and word “STOP” were visible on the roadway surface at the intersection with SR-33 at the time of the collision. As a result, plaintiff’s counsel asserted that Cervantes failed to stop at the stop limit line on Reward Road and thereby violated California Vehicle Code § 22450(a), which is for failure to stop at a stop limit line. Cervantes denied liability throughout the course of litigation, and contended that Mota was negligent., The glass in the windows on the driver’s side of the van shattered on Mota, scratching and scaring her face. She also sustained bruised ribs, and an MRI showed that she had severe damage to her lumbar spine. Mota underwent a lumbar discectomy and decompression at L4-5 and L5-S1 on Aug. 25, 2015. Mota claimed that despite having a great result from her surgery, she has some residual pain sitting or standing too long. She also claimed she has some pain engaging in exercise. The plaintiff’s expert physiatrist prepared a life care plan for Mota, which estimated that Mota would require future medical care, including interventional pain management, specialist care, ongoing diagnostic and imaging studies, psychological counseling, and therapeutic intervention and physical therapy. The expert also opined that Mota would need therapeutic medical equipment, medications and medical supplies, and EMG & nerve conduction velocity studies to evaluate for possible future complications. Mota sought recovery of $332,033.78 for past medical expenses and $3,228,388 for future medical expenses. He also sought recovery of damages for her past and future pain and suffering. The defense’s expert orthopedic surgeon performed a defense medical examination. Based on that exam, defense counsel contended that Mota likely had no significant injury from the crash on Feb. 2, 2015 and that Mota likely had a minor cervical muscle spasm due to the crash. Counsel also asserted that necessary and reasonable treatment only included the initial evaluation in the emergency room and associated treatment.
Superior Court of Kern County, Bakersfield, CA

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