Traumatic brain injury at issue in rear-ender. $10.7 million. Los Angeles County.

Summary

Child with learning disability is injured in high-impact rear-ender, claims traumatic brain injury (TBI), but insurer fails to make policy limit offer.

The Case

  • Case Name: M.C. v. Victor Mathews
  • Court and Case Number: : Los Angeles Superior Court / BC557692
  • Date of Verdict or Judgment: Tuesday, April 25, 2017
  • Date Action was Filed: Tuesday, September 16, 2014
  • Type of Action: Vehicles – rear-ender
  • Judge or Arbitrator(s): Hon. Michele Flurer
  • Plaintiffs:
    M.C., 10-year-old minor.
  • Defendants:
    Victor Mathews
  • Type of Result: Jury Verdict

The Result

  • Gross Verdict or Award: $10,778,626
  • Economic Damages:

    $6,778,626

  • Non-Economic Damages:

    $4,000,000

  • Trial or Arbitration Time: 9 days.
  • Jury Deliberation Time: 2 days.
  • Jury Polls: 12-0

The Attorneys

  • Attorney for the Plaintiff:

    Law Offices of Christopher Montes de Oca by Christopher Montes de Oca, Los Angeles.

    Law Offices of Artin Yadegarian by Artin Yadegarian, Glendale.

    Stewart Lim and Associates by Stewart Lim, Long Beach.

  • Attorney for the Defendant:

    Maranga | Morgenstern by Paul Elkort and Lilia Sandoval, Woodland Hills.

     

The Experts

  • Plaintiff’s Medical Expert(s):

    David Lechuga, Ph.D., neuropsychology, Lake Forest.

    Bradley Jabour, M.D., neuroradiology, Santa Monica.

    H. Ronald Fisk, M.D., Ph.D., neurology, Los Angeles.

    Sharon Kawai, M.D., physiatry and life care planning, Fullerton.

     

     

  • Defendant's Medical Expert(s):

    Tony Feuerman, M.D., neurosurgery, Encino.

    Hope Goldberg, Ph.D., neuropsychology, Pasadena.

    Andrew Woo, M.D., neurology, Santa Monica.

    Howard Krauss, M.D., neuro-opthalmology, Los Angeles.

    Michael Brant-Zawadzki, M.D., neuroradiology and interventional neuroradiology, Newport Beach.

  • Plaintiff's Technical Expert(s):

    Rick Sarkisian, Ph.D., vocational rehabilitation, Fresno.

    Stephanie Rizzardi, MBA, economics, San Marino.

    Sharon Grandinette, M.S. Ed., CBIST, special education with brain injury, Redondo Beach.

Facts and Background

  • Facts and Background:

    Plaintiff, a 10-year-old girl, was a passenger in a vehicle that was rear-ended by defendant on March 30, 2012. Plaintiff was seated in the back seat behind the driver seat. The car she was in was stopped at a stop sign and the defendant's car rear-ended them at a high rate of speed. Plaintiff suffered fractures and claimed a traumatic brain injury. Defendant was 100% at fault for the accident and admitted liability.

    Plaintiff was a 4 on the Glasgow Coma Scale (Severe Traumatic Brain Injury) at the scene and a 12 on the Glasgow Coma Scale (Moderate Traumatic Brain Injury) when she arrived at the emergency room. She spent 11 days in the PICU at Harbor UCLA.

    Plaintiff was on an IEP before the accident for a specific learning disability in visual processing and on an IEP after the accident.

  • Plaintiff's Contentions:

    That plaintiff had permanent brain injuries from the car accident.

  • Defendant's Contentions:

    Defendant admitted liability, but contended that plaintiff had no permanent injuries from the car accident.

    Defendant's neuropsychologist expert testified that plaintiff was born with an intellectual developmental disability (formerly known as mental retardation) despite there being no report or record from her school or her medical records since birth.

    Defendant's focus was that plaintiff had no structural brain damage and no residual deficits. Defense counsel told the jury to award plaintiff  zero dollars for future medical care.

Injuries and Other Damages

  • Physical Injuries claimed by Plaintiff:

    Facial, spine and skull fractures and traumatic brain injury (TBI).

    Past medical care included a stay in pediatric intensive care.  Future medical care will include multiple follow-up evaluations and treatments by specialists and a certified home health aide.

Demands and Offers

  • Plaintiff §998 Demand: $2,250,000 policy limits
  • Defendant §998 Offer: $1,250,000

Additional Notes

Insurer: Liberty Mutual did not make a policy-limits offer.

Disclaimer

This is not an official court document. While the publisher believes the information to be accurate, the publisher does not guarantee it and the reader is advised not to rely upon it without consulting the official court documents or the attorneys of record in this matter who are listed above.

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