Defendant disputes extent of injuries after U-turn collision. $292K. San Diego County.
Defendant admitted liability but disputed the claims of neck injury. Refused $100K policy limits demand.
- Case Name: Mejia v. Vu
- Court and Case Number: San Diego Superior Court / 2018-2443
- Date of Verdict or Judgment: Friday, April 05, 2019
- Date Action was Filed: Wednesday, January 17, 2018
- Type of Action: MIST (Minor impact, soft tissue), Vehicles - Auto vs. Auto, Vehicles - U Turn
- Judge or Arbitrator(s): Hon. Kevin A. Enright
- Plaintiffs: Marcela Mejia, 30, behavioral interventionist.
- Defendants: Anna Vu
- Type of Result: Jury Verdict
- Gross Verdict or Award: $292,244
- Net Verdict or Award: $292,244
- Contributory/Comparative Negligence: None.
- Economic Damages:
Past medical expenses: $17,244
Future medical expenses: $125,000
- Non-Economic Damages:
- Jury Deliberation Time: 6 hours.
- Jury Polls: Substantial factor: 12-0; all others 9-3.
- Post Trial Motions & Post-Verdict Settlements: Plaintiff will be filing motions for costs and interest pursuant to 998.
- Attorney for the Plaintiff:
Rejali Law Firm, APC by Omid Rejali, San Diego.
- Attorney for the Defendant:
Law offices of Scott D. Schabacker by Scott D. Schabacker, San Diego.
- Plaintiff’s Medical Expert(s):
William Tontz, Jr., M.D., orthopedic surgery, San Diego.
Stephen Heilman, D.C., chiropractic, Escondido. (Treating chiropractor.)
- Defendant's Medical Expert(s):
Kenneth Ott, M.D., orthopedic surgery, San Diego.
Stephen Rothman, M.D., radiology.
Facts and Background
- Facts and Background:
On October 12, 2016 plaintiff was driving to her mother’s house to pick up her 5-month-old baby when defendant made an illegal U-turn directly in her right of way.
- Plaintiff's Contentions:
As a result of the crash, plaintiff sustained injuries to her cervical spine, specifically that she lost the lordosis of her neck. Plaintiff also contended that she suffered from a facet injury in the C5/C6 region, which became chronic.
- Defendant's Contentions:
That the crash was minor and at best plaintiff suffered a strain/sprain of her neck that should have been healed in 6 to 8 weeks.
That all of plaintiff’s treatments were on liens and attorney-manufactured. That plaintiff over-treated.
Defendant’s called Dr. Rothman who contended that plaintiff could have manipulated the X-rays to show that her neck had lost its curvature. Defendant’s also called a physical therapist who previously had treated plaintiff for a prior back injury. She testified that plaintiff had prior back problems and suffered 1-rated pain in her back.
Injuries and Other Damages
- Physical Injuries claimed by Plaintiff:
Loss of cervical lordosis; chronic neck pain; facet injury.
- Special Damages Claimed - Past Medical: $38,000
- Special Damages Claimed - Future Medical: $140,000
- Special Damages Claimed - Past Lost Earnings: None.
- Special Damages Claimed - Future Lost Earnings: None.
Demands and Offers
- Plaintiff §998 Demand: Policy limits of $100,000 on February of 2018.
- Defendant §998 Offer: $25,500.