A jury awarded $1.3 million to a woman who claimed that she suffered permanent injuries in an automobile accident in Ocala.
On July 7, 2017, plaintiff Maricela Osvath, 62, a laundry handler, was driving on Baseline Road, near its intersection at Southeast 88th Street, in Ocala. Her car was involved in a head-on collision with a sport utility vehicle that was being driven by James Dolive Jr. Dolive had crossed the roadway’s median and collided with a truck moments prior to the collision involving Osvath’s vehicle. Osvath claimed that she suffered injuries to her back, a knee, her neck and a shoulder. Dolive later died, though his death was not related to the accident.
Osvath sued Dolive’s estate. The lawsuit alleged that Dolive was negligent in the operation of his vehicle. The defense conceded liability. The trial addressed damages.
Osvath became trapped in her vehicle. She was removed after some 30 minutes had passed. She was transported to Ocala Regional Medical Center, where she underwent minor treatment.
Osvath ultimately claimed that she suffered herniations of her C4-5, C5-6, C6-7 and L5-S1 intervertebral discs, a tear of her left knee’s medial meniscus, damage of cartilage of the same knee, and a tear of her left shoulder’s glenoid labrum. Osvath, who is ambidextrous, claimed that she also developed residual subluxation of the humeral component of her left shoulder.
Osvath has undergone years of chiropractic treatment and physical therapy, though its frequency has diminished to once or twice a month. She has also undergone administration of a painkilling nerve-block injection, which was directed to her lumbar region; her left knee required administration of an injection of a corticosteroid; and her left shoulder required two injections of steroid-based medication.
Osvath claimed that she suffers residual pain and limitations that hinder her performance of physical activities, such as dressing or grooming herself. She also claimed that her residual effects have diminished her social life. A doctor has recommended arthroscopic surgery that would address Osvath’s left shoulder. Osvath claimed that she also requires further chiropractic treatment and physical therapy, that her back, her left knee and her left shoulder require further injections, and that she requires ablation of problematic spinal nerves. She sought recovery of $140,000 for past medical expenses, $565,000 for future medical expenses, and a total of $6.7 million for past and future pain and suffering.
The defense’s expert radiologist reviewed the results of radiological studies that Osvath underwent before and after the accident, and he opined that the post-accident tests did not depict a significant change of the condition of Osvath’s spine.
The defense’s expert orthopedist examined Osvath, and he opined that Osvath suffered nothing more than a minor bruise of the left knee and sprains and strains of the cervical and lumbar regions. The expert opined that the injuries should have resolved within four weeks and that any further treatment was necessitated by age-related degenerative conditions. The defense suggested that the injuries of Osvath’s left knee and left shoulder were caused by repetitive work-related tasks.
The defense also contended that Osvath does not suffer a permanent injury. The defense noted that Osvath underwent conservative treatment and has avoided more invasive recommended treatment, such as surgery and further injections. The defense also presented post-accident surveillance footage that depicted Osvath shopping and performing other physical activities without apparent limitation.
The defense suggested that Osvath was not entitled to recovery of more than $103,000, which represented the cost of the first four weeks of Osvath’s treatment.
The jury found that Osvath suffers a permanent injury related to the accident. It determined that her damages totaled $1.3 million.