Case details

Back pain due to pre-existing condition, defense argued





Result type

Not present

back, herniated disc, neurological, radicular pain, radiculitis
On July 31, 2010, plaintiff Pedro Mandujano, 53, a farmer/salesman, was driving his pickup truck on State Route 60 in Ontario with his sons, plaintiffs Luis and Moises Mandujano, in the passenger seats. At approximately 4:30 p.m., at the interchange of northbound U.S. 15, the pickup truck was rear-ended by a vehicle operated by Bryon Brooks. Pedro Mandujano claimed to his neck and lower back. The Mandujanos sued Brooks, alleging the defendant was negligent in the operation of his vehicle. On the first day of trial, Luis and Moises Mandujano discontinued their actions against Brooks. Thus, the matter continued with only Pedro Mandujano’s claims against Brooks. Brooks claimed he took his eye off the road for a moment and admitted liability for the accident. Thus, the matter proceeded to a trial on causation and damages., Five days after the accident, Pedro Mandujano went to a chiropractor with complaints of mostly lower back pain, with some neck pain, and received chiropractic care for roughly three months. He was also referred for pain management, and received a combination of epidural and facet block injections from September 2010 through February 2011. Pedro Mandujano ultimately underwent an MRI and was diagnosed with a lumbar disc herniation at L5-S1. As a result, he underwent a lumbar discectomy at the L5-S1 level in August 2011. Pedro Mandujano claimed he still experiences lower back pain and discomfort, but that the surgery did resolve the radicular pain he was experiencing in his left leg. He alleged that he will require a lifetime of pain management, as well as future MRIs and possible injections. He also alleged he can no longer garden or take care of his animals due to his condition. Thus, Pedro Mandujano sought recovery of $212,000 in past medical costs, $50,000 to $60,000 in future medical costs, and an unspecified amount of damages for his pain and suffering. Defense counsel argued that the subject accident did not cause Pedro Mandujano any whatsoever. Counsel also argued that Pedro Mandujano suffered from a pre-existing lower back condition, and that the plaintiff’s treatments, complaints and surgery were unrelated to the accident.
Superior Court of San Bernardino County, San Bernardino, CA

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