Case details

Struck pedestrian claimed brain and neck injuries

SUMMARY

$175000

Amount

Arbitration

Result type

Not present

Ruling
KEYWORDS
back, brain, brain injury, neck, neurological, stenosis, traumatic brain injury
FACTS
On Aug. 3, 2017, claimant Kathleen Stickel, 65, a financial worker, was a crossing Broadway in a crosswalk at the intersection with Fifth Street, in Santa Monica, when she was struck by a vehicle making a left turn from Broadway onto Fifth Street. Stickel was knocked to the ground, where she landed on her right hip and side. She claimed to her head and neck. The motorist’s insurer tendered its $100,000 policy limits. Stickel then sought further recovery via the supplementary-underinsured-motorist provision of her own insurance policy, which was administered by Interinsurance Exchange of the Automobile Club, a subsidiary of the American Automotive Association (AAA). Stickel’s counsel contended that the motorist’s unsafe left turn caused the accident., Stickel believed she may have suffered a brief loss of consciousness due to the force of the vehicle collision. She initially declined transport from the scene to a hospital. Instead, she called her husband, who came to the scene and transported her home, where she could rest. However, after several hours, Stickel’s pain and symptoms worsened to the point where she elected to seek urgent medical attention at the Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center Emergency Department. Stickel claimed she sustained a mild traumatic brain injury and some aggravation to her pre-existing cervical stenosis. Her chief complaint was traumatic occipital neuralgia, a condition in which the occipital nerves — the nerves that run from the top of the spinal cord up through the scalp — are injured or inflamed, causing headaches. She claimed her condition was caused by trauma to the occipital nerve region in the neck during the accident. Although Stickel initially claimed issues with her shoulders, wrists, knees and right hip, those areas resolved. However, she underwent injections to the occipital region in order to treat the neuralgia. The claimant’s medical experts opined that Stickel will require future treatment, which would include multilevel cervical disc replacement or multilevel fusion, Botox injections, psychological counseling, and cognitive rehabilitation and psychological counseling. In addition, claimant’s counsel contended that Stickel’s future care will include further injection procedures and physical therapy on an as-needed basis. The respondent’s medical experts disputed the presence of a mild traumatic brain injury and the need for future psychological treatment. The experts also disputed causation of the alleged neck injury and the need for neck surgery. However, the respondent’s experts agreed that Stickel has traumatic occipital neuralgia and would benefit from a cognitive behavioral therapy program to address her functional issues related to dealing with daily chronic pain.
COURT
Arbitration Company, CA

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