Case details

Plaintiff alleged neck and shoulder injuries from crash




Mediated Settlement

Result type

Not present

back, cervical, herniated disc, neck, Severely, shoulder, shoulder impingement, stenosis
On Sept. 30, 2011, at approximately 7:38 a.m., plaintiff Dorothy Morski, 53, a religious instructor, was traveling in her 1999 Ford Explorer on eastbound Torrance Boulevard, in Redondo Beach, toward the intersection with South Francisca Avenue. Torrance Boulevard is governed by a traffic light, while South Francisca Avenue has a stop sign. As Morski entered the intersection, she was struck on the passenger side by a 2009 Toyota Sequoia operated by Halimah Tusadiah Covalt, who entered the intersection from northbound South Francisca Avenue. The impact sent Morski’s sport utility vehicle careening out of control, causing her Ford Explorer to sideswipe the vehicle in the lane next to her. Morski’s vehicle then rolled over at least three times and wound up on its wheels in the number two lane, facing north. Morski claimed severe from the accident. Morski sued Covalt, alleging that Covalt was negligent in the operation of her Toyota Sequoia. Morski claimed that as she approached the intersection of Torrance Boulevard and South Francisca Avenue, she had a green light for her direction of travel, while Covalt had a one-way stop sign for her direction of travel. Witnesses, including the driver of the vehicle that Morski sideswiped, confirmed that Morski had the green light. Thus, plaintiff’s counsel contended that Covalt caused the accident by failing to yield the right-of-way and proceeding into the intersection from a one-way stop sign when traffic was not clear in both directions. Covalt did not dispute liability., Morski claimed she sustained a herniated cervical disc, resulting in 9-millimeter stenosis (abnormal narrowing) of the spinal canal. She also claimed she suffered an impingement of her right shoulder. The plaintiff’s expert orthopedic surgeon would have testified that Morski required a cervical discectomy and fusion, an MRI of the shoulder; and arthroscopic decompression. Thus, Morski sought recovery of $39,990.05 for her past medical expenses and $173,500 to $198,500 for her future medical expenses. She also sought recovery of damages for her past and future pain and suffering. Defense counsel disputed the nature and extent of Morski’s damages, specifically questioning whether Morski will require future surgery, noting that Morski has not had the surgery yet. The defense’s expert orthopedic surgeon examined Morski and opined that Morski only suffered from cervical and lumbar musculoligamentous sprains and strains, as well as degenerative disc disease of the cervical and lumbar spine. Thus, the defense expert opined that Morski only suffered soft-tissue in the accident and that Morski’s medical costs (post-Howell) were under $20,000.
Superior Court of Los Angeles County, Los Angeles, CA

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