Case details

Plaintiff claimed accident aggravated pre-existing DISH





Result type

Not present

back, lower back, neck
On Oct. 13, 2009, at approximately 11:50 p.m., plaintiff Terry Leftgoff, 52, a self-employed environmental consultant, was driving his 1996 Saab west on Melrose Avenue in Los Angeles. As he entered the intersection with La Brea Avenue, the front end of his vehicle collided into the front, passenger side of a 2003 Nissan Sentra. The driver of the Sentra, Daniel Gaita, was attempting to make a left turn in front of Leftgoff from eastbound Melrose Avenue onto La Brea Avenue. The impact caused Gaita’s vehicle to spin and come into slight front-to-front contact with a vehicle stopped on southbound La Brea Avenue. As a result of the impact, Leftgoff’s airbags deployed and he was briefly rendered unconscious. Leftgoff sued the driver, Daniel Gaita, and his father, William Gaita, the registered owner of the vehicle. He alleged that Daniel Gaita was negligent in the operation of his vehicle and that William Gaita was vicariously liable for his son’s actions. Leftgoff claimed that he was unable to take any steps to avoid the accident and that the traffic signal for him was still green at the moment of impact. He also claimed that Daniel Gaita failed to yield the right of way to oncoming traffic. Daniel Gaita claimed that the wet road conditions caused his vehicle to skid and prevented him from making a safe left turn., Leftgoff claimed the force of the impact between the vehicles was severe. Immediately after the crash, he claimed an immediate onset of pain throughout his body, but most significantly to his neck, shoulders, left leg, left hand, back and face. He was subsequently transported by the paramedics to Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in West Hollywood, where he was examined, X-rayed and administered medication. Leftgoff followed up with his primary care physician and sought care from various other providers for physical therapy, pain management and MRIs. He was also prescribed various medications to help alleviate the pain and reduce inflammation. In December 2009, Leftgoff was seen and evaluated by a rheumatologist, who discovered that Leftgoff had a pre-existing condition known as diffuse idiopathic skeletal hyperostosis, where the growth of bone and osteophytes result in a pseudo-fusion of the neck. Leftgoff claimed that although he did not have any pain or DISH-related symptoms prior to the accident, the trauma of the accident destabilized the cervical spine and caused him to suffer pain after the accident. Leftgoff, who is self-employed, did not make a claim for lost time from work, but he alleged that he continues to have neck and lower back pain. As a result, he continues to treat with physical therapy and with over-the-counter medication. Leftgoff’s Saab was rendered inoperable and deemed a total loss as a result of this accident. Defense counsel argued that Leftgoff’s were pre-existing and that any recommendation for future care or surgery was not related to the subject accident.
Superior Court of Los Angeles County, Central, CA

Recommended Experts


Get a FREE consultation for your case