Case details

Broadside crash aggravated back injuries, plaintiff alleged





Result type

Not present

back, bulging disc, herniated disc, lower back, lumbar, lumbar neck, neck, neurological, radicular pain, radiculitis
On July 21, 2014, plaintiff Garrett Rau, 28, a real estate agent/broker, was driving on westbound Moorpark Avenue, in Sherman Oaks, when his four-door, 2010 Audi was broadsided by a Chevrolet ambulance operated by Rajan Patel. Both vehicles were damaged in the crash, and Rau claimed to his neck and back. Rau sued Patel and Patel’s employers, Rural Metro Corp. and Bowers Ambulance. Rau alleged that Patel was negligent in the operation of the ambulance and that Rural Metro Corp. and Bowers Ambulance were vicariously liable for Patel’s actions while in the course and scope of his employment. Rau contended that Patel had the ambulance parked along the curb of westbound Moorpark Avenue when he suddenly, and without signaling or warning, pulled away from the curb and struck the front, passenger side of his vehicle. Patel admitted negligence, but denied causing Rau’s alleged ., Rau claimed that within hours of the accident, he developed pain in his neck and lower back, particularly on the left side. Rau had pre-existing disc degeneration at L4-5 and L5-S1. However, he claimed he had no symptoms or pain before the accident. He also claimed that he had lumbar herniations and/or bulges that were likely pre-existing, but that the subject collision caused his asymptomatic herniations/bulges to become symptomatic. Specifically, he claimed that following the crash, he suffered from lower back pain, and pain, numbness and tingling that radiated into the posterolateral thigh, lateral knee, posterior calf, and toes. Ray further claimed that he developed severe spasms at the left hamstring and calf. As a result, he underwent physical therapy and epidural injections following the crash. He then underwent a lumbar decompressive surgery at L5-S1 five months after the subject accident. However, approximately one year after the accident, and post discectomy, an MRI revealed a 7-millimeter disc extrusion at L5-S1. As a result, Rau underwent a “redo” lumbar decompressive surgery at L5-S1, and a hemilaminectomy, fasciectomy and foraminotomy at the left L4 level approximately 15 months after the crash. Rau did not miss any time from work, but he claimed he still suffers from residual back pain. Thus, Rau sought recovery of past and future medical costs, and damages for his past and future pain and suffering. The defense’s biomechanical expert contested the severity of the impact and the alleged resulting from the subject accident. Defense counsel asserted that Rau’s pre-existed the accident and that the resulting treatment was not related to the collision. Defense counsel also obtained a sub-rosa video of Rau at the gym.
Superior Court of Los Angeles County, Los Angeles, CA

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