Case details

Plaintiff claimed crash caused injuries to her mouth and an eye




Mediated Settlement

Result type

Not present

abrasion, cornea, dental, eye, face, fracture, head, jaw, laceration head, nose, temporomandibular, TMJ, tooth
On Feb. 3, 2015, plaintiff Geneice Banks, 45, a superior court clerk, was driving on northbound Santa Barbara Street, in Santa Barbara, when her vehicle was struck on the left, front of her vehicle by a vehicle operated by Jose Martinez-Tejeda, who entered the intersection from East Micheltorena Street. As a result, the driver’s side air bag deployed and struck Banks in the eye, mouth and chest. She claimed to an eye and mouth. Banks sued Martinez-Tejeda; Martinez-Tejeda’s employer, Pacific Diagnostic Labs LLC; and Pacific Diagnostic Labs’ parent company, Cottage Health System. Banks alleged that Martinez-Tejeda was negligent in the operation of his vehicle and that Pacific Diagnostic Labs and Cottage Health System were vicariously liable for Martinez-Tejeda’s actions while driving in the course and scope of his employment. The matter ultimately continued against Martinez-Tejeda and Pacific Diagnostic Labs only. Banks claimed that Martinez-Tejeda failed to observe the red light on East Micheltorena Street and entered the intersection against the red signal light. Thus, she claimed that Martinez-Tejeda failed to exercise the due care of a reasonable motorist. The defendants did not dispute liability., Banks claimed that she sustained to her right cornea and right temporomandibular joint as a result of her air bag deploying in the broadside crash. She also fractured a tooth. Banks was subsequently taken to Santa Barbara Cottage Hospital, in Santa Barbara. She treated her TMJ disorder with orthotic therapy and physical therapy. She also developed recurrent corneal erosion syndrome in the right eye, which is a condition that is characterized by a disturbance at the level of the corneal epithelial basement membrane and can cause eye pain, photophobia, lacrimation, and corneal scarring. As a result, she underwent corneal puncture procedures since the time of the accident. Banks claimed that she missed some time from work as a result of her and that she will eventually require a crown on her fractured tooth. Thus, Banks sought recovery of $27,428 in past medical costs, $5,375 in past lost earnings, an unspecified amount of future medical costs, and an unspecified amount of damages for her past and future pain and suffering. Defense counsel disputed the nature and extent of Banks’ TMJ treatment. The defense’s dental expert opined that Banks’ right-sided jaw and head pain was due to a pre-existing condition involving poor posture and body mechanics. The expert also opined that Banks will not require treatment for her alleged TMJ dysfunction or for her cracked tooth. According to plaintiff’s counsel, despite the fact that the defense’s expert is a dentist, the expert examined Banks’ peripheral vision as part of her customary dental examination and assessed Banks’ visual acuity by using a Snellen chart.
Superior Court of Santa Barbara County, Santa Barbara, CA

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