Case details

Plaintiff alleged collision caused disabling injuries





Result type

Not present

back, fusion, knee, lumbar knee, meniscus, tear neck
On June 6, 2016, plaintiff Radomir Nikodijevic, 61, a general contractor, was driving in Burbank when his vehicle was rear-ended by a vehicle operated by Holly Ohanessian. Nikodijevic claimed to his neck, left knee and lower back. Nikodijevic sued Ohanessian, alleging that Ohanessian was negligent in the operation of her vehicle. Ohanessian admitted liability., Nikodijevic claimed he sustained a torn meniscus in his left knee and an extrusion of a cervical disc fragment. He also claimed he suffered from lumbar spine instability. After the accident, Nikodijevic’s vehicle was drivable, so he went home. Later that day, he was taken by his daughter to a hospital, where he presented with complaints of chest pain from the seat belt, and pain to the lower back, left knee and left side of his neck. He commenced chiropractic treatment three days later, and underwent arthroscopic surgery on his left knee four months after the accident. The surgery on his knee was performed by one of his treating orthopedic surgeons, Dr. Moshe Wilker. Nikodijevic then received epidural steroid injections, which were performed by his treating pain management expert, four to six months after the accident. In addition, he underwent a two-level lumbar fusion 19 months after the accident, while he was under the care of another one of his treating orthopedic surgeons, Dr. Thomas Hopkins. Nikodijevic claimed that he is now unemployed, as he is disabled from working. Nikodijevic’s medical insurance would not cover the medical costs when there was a third-party insurer who allegedly failed, in good faith, to pay the policy in a reasonable fashion. Thus, all of Nikodijevic’s past medical costs were lien-based, and the third-party’s policy was “opened.” Nikodijevic’s third orthopedic surgery expert, Dr. Gerald Alexander, opined that approximately $500,000 in past medical costs, out of $730,000 in total medical bills, was reasonable and necessary, and related to Nikodijevic’s chiropractic care, pain management, knee surgery, lumbar discogram and lumbar fusion. All three of Nikodijevic’s orthopedic surgery experts (Wilker, Hopkins and Alexander) opined that Nikodijevic will eventually require a total left knee replacement and an adjacent level lumbar fusion. Alexander further opined that Nikodijevic’s future medical costs would total $650,000. Nikodijevic sought recovery of $730,000 in past medical costs, $650,000 in future medical costs, and an unspecified amount of non-economic damages for his past and future pain and suffering. Plaintiff’s counsel asked the jury to award Nikodijevic approximately $3.5 million in total damages. The defense’s biomechanical expert opined that the accident’s delta-v was only 4 mph, so there was no mechanism for injury. The defense’s orthopedic expert allowed for sprain and strain with medical care at a reasonable value of $19,877. The defense’s medical billing expert was precluded from testifying, despite the recent finding on the Stokes case, where, on March 14, 2019, a California appellate court held that there was no violation of the collateral source rule, where an expert’s testimony referencing a plaintiff’s collateral source payments was made to provide a reasonable value of damages, and help the jury with context and background of the issues. (Stokes v. Muschinske (March 14, 2019, No. B280116) Cal.App.5th [2019 WL 1513208].)
Superior Court of Los Angeles County, Long Beach, CA

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