Case details

Plaintiff claimed car crash led to severe headaches, neck pain





Result type

Not present

back, face, head, headaches neck, jaw, neurological, nose, radicular pain, radiculitis, sprain, thoracic
On Feb. 16, 2015, plaintiff Aleksandra Abs, 63, a retiree, was a passenger of a compact car that was traveling on the southbound side of Hawthorne Boulevard, near its intersection at Emerald Street, in Torrance. While the vehicle was stopped in traffic, its rear end was struck by a trailing sport utility vehicle that was being driven by Brane Zivkovic. Abs claimed that she suffered of her back, her head and her neck. Abs sued Zivkovic. Abs alleged that Zivkovic was negligent in the operation of his vehicle. Defense counsel conceded liability. The trial addressed damages., Abs claimed the crash aggravated her pre-existing cervical and lumbar disc disease. She also claimed a thoracic sprain, left-sided jaw pain, and constant headaches. Abs first sought treatment several days after the accident. She treated her with physical therapy, acupuncture and yoga. She also had epidural and trigger point injections to her cervical spine on Aug. 21, 2015. Abs then had another cervical epidural injection on March 16, 2016. At the time of trial, Abs primarily complained of problems with her neck. While she admitted that her pre-existing cervical disc disease caused her occasional neck pain, arm numbness, and mild headaches prior to the accident, she claimed that those conditions became much more severe following the subject crash. She specifically claimed that her neck pain radiated to both shoulders and that her headaches radiated from her neck to the back of her head. Abs also claimed in a 2017 deposition that she had numbness from her neck to her fingers every morning. Abs retired shortly before the crash, but she claimed that she had only planned to take a short break from work and that she had hoped to get a different job within a few months. However, she alleged that due to the subject crash, she was not able to go back to work. She also claimed that while she used to drive 60 miles to work each day, she is now unable to sit in her car for extended periods of time. Abs also claimed that she can only sit at a computer for an hour at a time when, previously, she was able to sit at her computer for the entire work day. Abs sought recovery of past and future lost earnings, and damages for her past and future pain and suffering. She waived her claim for past medical expenses. Defense counsel argued that Abs had an extensive history of pre-accident treatment for degenerative changes to her neck and back. Counsel noted that Abs had complained of headaches and neck pain in 2013, at which time she received acupuncture treatment. Counsel also noted that a rheumatologist had diagnosed degenerative changes to Abs’ neck and back in 2014. The defense’s expert orthopedic surgeon performed an independent medical examination of Abs and opined that Abs’ symptoms were consistent with thoracic outlet syndrome, rather than cervical disc disease. He opined that as a result, the cervical injections were not necessary. The expert further opined that any of Abs’ complaints of lower back pain resulted from her pre-existing conditions, rather the subject accident, and that Abs required no future treatment. In addition, defense counsel argued that Abs could not prove that she was planning a return to the workforce prior to the subject crash, and noted that Abs continued to travel following the accident. As a result, defense counsel disputed the extent of Abs’ .
Superior Court of Los Angeles County, Alhambra, CA

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