Extent of injuries disputed in admitted-liability car crash. $335K. Santa Barbara County.


Plaintiff easily beats CCP 998. Plaintiff refused medical treatment at the scene. Defense says need for hip replacement was not caused by the crash.

The Case

  • Case Name: Santibanez v. Flesher
  • Court and Case Number: Santa Barbara Superior Court / 20CV02091
  • Date of Verdict or Judgment: Tuesday, September 06, 2022
  • Date Action was Filed: Friday, June 19, 2020
  • Type of Case: Vehicles - Auto vs. Auto
  • Judge or Arbitrator(s): Hon. Thomas Anderle
  • Plaintiffs:
    Elba Santibanez, 57, food server
  • Defendants:
    Bette Mae Flesher
  • Type of Result: Jury Verdict

The Result

  • Gross Verdict or Award: $355,000
  • Contributory/Comparative Negligence: None.
  • Economic Damages:

    Past medical: $125,000

    Future medical: $122,000

  • Non-Economic Damages:

    Past: $100,000

    Future: $8,000

  • Trial or Arbitration Time: 6 days
  • Jury Deliberation Time: 4 hours
  • Post Trial Motions & Post-Verdict Settlements: Plaintiff's motion for $113,235.12 in costs and 998 interest granted.

The Attorneys

  • Attorney for the Plaintiff:

    Harris Personal Injury Lawyers, Inc. by Anthony Kastenek, Santa Barbara.

  • Attorney for the Defendant:

    Mark Weiner & Associates by Colette Asel, Glendale.

The Experts

  • Plaintiff’s Medical Expert(s):

    Christopher Birch, M.D., hip orthopedic surgery. (Treating physician.)

    Alan Moelleken, M.D., spine orthopedics. (Treating physician.)

    Amit Nathani, M.D., hip orthopedics. (Treating physician.)

    Jon Uyesaka, primary care. (Treating physician.)

  • Defendant's Medical Expert(s):

    Tony Feuerman, M.D., neurosurgery.

    Brian Bashner, M.D., orthopedics.

  • Defendant's Technical Expert(s):

    Isaac Ikram, accident reconstruction.

Facts and Background

  • Facts and Background:

    On February 22, 2019, plaintiff  was taking a right onto US 101 southbound when she was hit on the passenger/rear side of her Nissan Pathfinder by defendant. The impact caused plaintiff’s vehicle to spin 180 degrees. Plaintiff denied medical attention at the scene, and went to her daughter’s house. Liability was not disputed.

  • Plaintiff's Contentions:

    Plaintiff claimed injuries to her low back and left hip.

  • Defendant's Contentions:

    Defendant disputed the nature and extent of plaintiff's injuries, claiming they were either soft tissue and/or pre-existing conditions that were not made worse as a result of the crash.

Injuries and Other Damages

  • Physical Injuries claimed by Plaintiff:

    Low back nerve injury at L5. Plaintiff underwent two PRP injections at the L4-L5 levels. Left hip pain that necessitated a total hip replacement.

Special Damages

  • Special Damages Claimed - Past Medical: $173,079
  • Special Damages Claimed - Future Medical: $250,000 to $455,000
  • Special Damages Claimed - Past Lost Earnings: None.
  • Special Damages Claimed - Future Lost Earnings: None.

Demands and Offers

  • Plaintiff §998 Demand: $99,000 on November 19, 2021
  • Defendant §998 Offer: $25,000.00 on December 14, 2021.

Additional Notes

Defendant attempted to serve another $50,000 998 on March 4, 2022, but it was not timely served.

Plaintiff expects to collect approximately $30,000.00 in interest and $90,000.00 in litigation costs after beating her 998 of $99,000.

Insurer: State Farm