Case details

Plaintiff claimed injuries from two separate crashes





Result type

Not present

back, bulging disc, cervical, cervical disc injury, dental, disc protrusion, fractured teeth, herniated disc, neck
On March 29, 2006, plaintiff Carl Kirakosian, 64, a former insurance salesman, was operating a 1997 Nissan Sentra on North Palm Avenue in Fresno when Gail Harper rear-ended him with a GMC Envoy. Less than a year later, on Jan. 17, 2007, Kirakosian was operating the same Nissan Sentra at the intersection of Barstow and Blackstone Avenues when Paul Cuellar’s Dodge Ram pickup truck rear-ended him. Kirakosian claimed the collisions caused to his back, neck and teeth. Kirakosian sued Ms. Harper, and the owner of her vehicle, Alan Harper. He also brought a separate action against Cuellar. Kirakosian alleged that Ms. Harper and Cuellar were negligent in the operation of their respective vehicles, and that Mr. Harper was vicariously liable for Ms. Harper’s actions. The two matters were ultimately consolidated, and Mr. Harper was dismissed from the case on the first day of trial. Ms. Harper and Cuellar each admitted liability for their respective accidents. Thus, the matter proceeded on the issues of causation and damages., Kirakosian claimed that the first accident resulted in broken teeth, neck and back strains, cervical disc protrustions/herniations at C3-4, C5-6 and C6-7, as well as facet . She did not seek emergency medical treatment, but ultimately required microdecompressive spinal surgery and followed up with chiropractic treatment. Following the second accident, Kirakosian claimed an exacerbation of the spinal caused by the March 2006 crash. He again did not seek any emergency medical treatment, and first sought treatment later in the day from the same chiropractor he previously treated with following the 2006 accident. Kirakosian claimed that all of his activities were affected by the accident, including Armenian dancing and basketball with his adult son. The plaintiff’s experts opined that the 2006 accident caused Kirakosian’s facet . The plaintiff’s neurosurgery expert testified that the 2006 accident caused all of Kirakosian’s alleged and the need for minimally invasive spinal surgery. Kirakosian’s treating physician from First Health Medical Center testified to the exacerbation of the plaintiff’s previous . In addition, the plaintiff’s expert neurologist opined that 5 percent of the overall treatment was a result of the 2007 motor vehicle accident. For the alleged from the 2006 accident, Kirakosian sought recovery of damages, including approximately $110,000 in medical specials and approximately $650,000 in general damages. For the alleged from the 2007 crash, Kirakosian sought recovery of damages, including approximately $36,000 for pain and suffering, approximately $1,900 in chiropractic treatment, and approximately $5,000 from the disc injury, treatment and surgery. Kirakosian is currently unemployed. He continued to work after the 2006 accident, after taking a short time off following each crash, but withdrew all past-wage-loss claims while on the stand under cross-examination. According to defense counsel, after Kirakosian withdrew his past-wage-loss claim, he still claimed future loss of earnings, which the plaintiff could not substantiate. Kirakosian also withdrew his claim of broken teeth while on the stand under cross-examination. Defense counsel argued that Kirakosian’s surgery was unrelated to either accident. The defense’s accident reconstruction and biomechanical engineering experts testified that the forces generated in each accident were insufficient to cause a disc injury. They further testified that the forces in the 2006 collision were consistent with muscle strains and that the forces in the 2007 collision, at the lower-end range, were insufficient to cause any injury. The defense’s expert orthopedic surgeon testified that Kirakosian’s microdiscectomy and “minimally invasive spinal surgery” were not related to either accident or even necessary.
Superior Court of Fresno County, Fresno, CA

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