Case details

Plaintiff claimed rear-end crash caused spinal injuries




Mediated Settlement

Result type

Not present

back, bulging disc, cervical, disc protrusion, fusion, lumbar, neck, neurological, radiculopathy, stenosis
On July 6, 2015, plaintiff Natalie Bafiera, 35, an administrative assistant, was driving in the far left (number one) lane on westbound Huntington Drive, in Durante, when she slowed for a red light near the intersection with Oak Avenue and was rear-ended by a vehicle operated by Roberto Lopez. Bafiera claimed to her neck and back. Bafiera sued Lopez and Lopez’s employer, Utility Tree Service Inc. Bafiera alleged that Lopez was negligent in the operation of his vehicle and that Utility Tree Service was vicariously liable for Lopez’s actions. Plaintiff’s counsel contended that Lopez caused the crash by traveling at an unsafe speed for the prevailing road conditions (approximately 35 mph), which was a violation of California Vehicle Code § 22350., Bafiera claimed that she sustained bulging cervical and lumbar discs, resulting in cervical and lumbar radiculopathy. When the Los Angeles Fire Department arrived, Bafiera complained of headaches. She was taken to Methodist Hospital, in Arcadia, where she complained of severe pain to her back, neck and hip. Her cervical MRI showed a 3 to 4 millimeter foraminal protrusion with moderately severe right foraminal stenosis at C3-4. Her lumbar MRI showed a 5 millimeter right foraminal protrusion with moderately severe right neural foraminal stenosis at L4-5. Bafiera ultimately underwent a posterior spinal fusion at L4-5 on April 25, 2018. However, she claimed she still needs to undergo an anterior cervical discectomy and fusion at C3-4, C4-5 and C5-6. Bafiera claimed that she has been unable to return to work as an administrative assistant since the accident. She has since gone to esthetician school and now works part-time as an esthetician. Plaintiff’s counsel contended that Bafiera’s past loss of earnings totaled $132,138. Additionally, counsel contended that Bafiera’s future loss of earnings capacity totaled $1,411,075, if Bafiera returned to work as an esthetician full-time, or $1,781,874, if Bafiera returned to work as an esthetician part-time. Bafiera claimed that her past medical expenses totaled $242,651.36. She also sought recovery of future medical expenses for the recommended/scheduled anterior cervical discectomy and fusion, and recovery of damages for her past and future pain and suffering. Defense counsel asserted that Bafiera’s pain symptoms were pre-existing and due to her pre-existing fibromyalgia. Counsel also noted that Bafiera previously underwent pain management for her alleged symptoms. Defense counsel further asserted that Bafiera’s claim of past loss of earnings was unsupported because she was not working at the time of the incident and that her future loss of earnings capacity claim was unsupported because there were no indications that she could not work as an administrative assistant.
Superior Court of Los Angeles County, Los Angeles, CA

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