Case details

Plaintiff struck by vehicle claimed ankle and back injuries




Mediated Settlement

Result type

Not present

ankle, back, disc protrusion, fracture, fusion, left ankle, lower back, lumbar
On June 11, 2011, at approximately 9:30 p.m., plaintiff Adriana Pimentel, an unemployed 29 year old, was walking along North Avenida Caballeros in Palm Springs when she attempted to cross the street to get to the Palm Springs Convention Center and was struck by a vehicle operated by Georgiana Wiesner, who was driving south on North Avenida Caballeros. Pimentel claimed to her lower back and left ankle. Pimentel sued Wiesner, alleging the defendant was negligent in the operation of her vehicle. Specifically, Pimentel contended that Wiesner failed to yield to a pedestrian and was traveling at an unreasonable speed under the circumstances. Wiesner contested liability, claiming Pimentel was negligent per se for failing to use a crosswalk in violation of Vehicle Code § 21955. She also claimed that Pimentel was wearing dark clothing at night. Wiesner further denied her speed was unreasonable, claiming the impact occurred at a very low speed. She alleged the front tire came to rest on Pimentel’s foot, showing that it was indeed a low-speed impact., Pimentel fractured her left ankle and sustained 5- to 6-millimeter lumbar disc protrusions at L4-5 and 4- to 5-millimeter lumbar disc protrusions at L5-S1. She was subsequently taken by ambulance to an emergency room. Pimentel later underwent chiropractic care from Sept. 27, 2011, through Nov. 20, 2011. She also underwent orthopedic evaluations and a lumbar epidural block on Nov. 30, 2011. On Feb. 6, 2012, Pimentel underwent lower back surgery that consisted of a bilateral, posterior spinal fusion of the intertransverse process and facets at L4, L5 and S1; bilateral, posterior spinal segmental pedicle screw instrumentation at L4, L5 and S1; presacral approach for anterior interbody fusion at L4-5 and L5-S1; and bilateral laminal foraminotomies and microdiscectomies at L4-5 and L5-S1. Following the surgery, she underwent physical therapy from Aug. 3, 2012 through Sept. 24, 2012. Pimentel claimed ongoing pain in her left ankle, in that she cannot take long walks without experiencing pain. She also claimed continued intermittent lower back pain, which might require future ongoing diagnostic evaluations, therapeutic intervention and treatment, and aides for independent function. Thus, Pimentel sought recovery of $412,211.72 in past medical costs and $2,236,719 in future medical costs/life care plan. She also sought recovery of damages for her past and future pain and suffering. Defense counsel argued that the slow-impact accident could not have caused any serious disc injury and that there was no need for Pimentel’s decompression and fusion surgery. Instead, counsel argued that Pimentel suffered from degenerative disc disease and that proper treatment would have consisted of a laminectomy and discectomy only. In addition, defense counsel contended that as of January 2012, sub rosa investigation showed no indication of Pimentel having residual lower back problems.
Superior Court of Riverside County, Indio, CA

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