Case details

Plaintiff: Head-on crash caused shoulder and spinal injuries





Result type

Not present

back, injury, neck, rotator cuff, shoulder, tear
On Nov. 17, 2011, plaintiff Guillermo Arias, 48, a handyman, was operating a car on San Fernando Road, near the intersection with Tuxford Street in Sun Valley, when a vehicle approaching in the opposite direction suddenly crossed the centerline, causing a head-on collision. Arias claimed a torn rotator cuff from the accident. Arias sued the driver of the other vehicle, Kyle McDarias, and the vehicle’s owner, Steven McDarias. Arias alleged that Kyle McDarias was negligent in the operation of the vehicle. He also alleged that since Steven McDarias gave Kyle McDarias the permissive use of the vehicle, Steven McDarias was vicariously liable for Kyle McDarias’ actions. After the initial impact, the two vehicles careened and spun in different directions before coming to rest in directions, very much askew from their original path of travel. At the scene of the accident, Kyle McDarias denied Arias’ version of the accident, which described the McDarias vehicle as simply crossing the centerline and causing a head-on collision. Kyle McDarias told the investigating police that he was traveling in the same direction as the Arias vehicle and that he believed he was hit from behind. However, a videotape from a business surveillance camera located very close to the accident scene captured the accident and corroborated the head-on version of the accident, as advanced by Arias. When confronted with this evidence at depositions, Kyle McDarias denied telling the police that he was traveling in the same northerly direction as Arias and claimed he no longer had a recollection of his direction of travel., Arias did not have medical insurance, so he did not initially seek a hospital emergency room examination or treatment. However, five days after the accident, he was seen by a chiropractor and then followed up with an orthopedic surgeon with complaints of back, neck, and shoulder pain. Arias treated his pain conservatively, and the back and neck pain eventually resolved. However, MRIs revealed a torn rotator cuff in Arias’ left, non-dominant shoulder, which required arthroscopic surgery. Arias claimed that following the arthroscopic surgery, he obtained an excellent result. Thus, he alleged he suffered from no residual . Defense counsel argued that Arias’ alleged were not caused by the accident and were, instead, pre-existing degenerative conditions. Counsel contended that a head-on collision between two vehicles, causing significant left front end damage to both vehicles, was not sufficient to cause the kinds of Arias claimed.
Superior Court of Los Angeles County, Los Angeles, CA

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