Case details

Plaintiffs: Broadside crash caused shoulder and head injuries





Result type

Not present

balance issues, cognitive problems, headaches, left shoulder, muscles, severely damaged, shoulder, vertigo
On April 4, 2014, plaintiff Eric Smiler, 65, a retired dental implant maker, was driving on Adeline Street, in Oakland, with his wife, plaintiff Marilyn Grabina-Smiler, 60, a part-time office manager, as his front-seat passenger. The Smilers were heading home to Alameda after spending the morning running errands in Berkeley. As they entered the intersection with 26th Street, traveling at about 30 mph, they were broadsided by a sport utility vehicle operated by Ivan Majdrakoff, who was accelerating into a left-hand turn from 26th Street. The collision crumpled the passenger side of the Smilers’ car and the front-end of Majdrakoff’s SUV, totaling both vehicles. Mr. Smiler was subsequently thrown to the left, causing his left shoulder to strike his door. Ms. Smiler was also thrown to the left, hitting her husband, before being whipped back to the right, where her head struck the passenger door. The Smilers sued Majdrakoff, alleging that Majdrakoff was negligent in the operation of his vehicle. The collision was caught on videotape by the security cameras of a nearby business. Thus, Majdrakoff admitted liability early on in the litigation., Mrs. Smiler was dazed and in shock from the collision, and she was subsequently transported by ambulance to Alameda Hospital, in Alameda, for evaluation. Mr. Smiler accompanied his wife to the hospital and although he was allegedly hurting, he did not seek treatment at that time. Mr. Smiler’s treating orthopedist diagnosed him with a severe tear of his left, non-dominant rotator cuff. Mr. Smiler claimed that it was a result of being thrown sideways in the collision. As a result, on Nov. 9, 2015, he underwent a total reverse shoulder replacement surgery to repair the rotator cuff. The plaintiff’s expert orthopedic surgeon would have testified about a total reverse shoulder replacement surgery involves reversing the ball and socket anatomy of the shoulder by attaching an artificial ball to the shoulder blade and an artificial socket to the top of the arm. Doing that would allow the deltoid muscle to move the arm where the severely damaged shoulder muscles cannot. However, the expert opined that the surgery also places significant stress on the deltoid, which, over time, stretches and deteriorates, causing the shoulder to become immobile again after approximately 10 years. For that reason, the surgery is primarily performed on patients over 70 years old. Thus, it is anticipated that, because of his relatively young age, Mr. Smiler would require a revision surgery in 10-15 years. Mr. Smiler was retired at the time of the collision, so he had no loss of income claim. However, he was still recovering and rehabilitating his shoulder at the time of settlement. Ms. Smiler claimed that she suffered a labyrinthine concussion a result of her head impacting the door during the collision. The condition was diagnosed during later evaluations by her neurologist. Ms. Smiler claimed that she continues to experience post-concussion symptom, including balance issues and vertigo, cognitive problems, and severe headaches. She alleged that while she did undergo treatment and therapy for her conditions, her severe headaches were still unresolved and still being treated at the time of settlement. Mrs. Smiler works part-time as an office manager for two dental practices. Thus, her alleged lost income was minimal. The Smilers, who have two grown children and one small grandchild, sought recovery for their past medical care for the value of their respective future medical care, as recommended by their doctors. They also sought recovery of damages for their past and future pain and suffering. Defense counsel disputed the nature and extent of the Smilers’ . Counsel also disputed whether the Smilers were even injured in the collision.
Superior Court of Alameda County, Oakland, CA

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