Case details

Collision caused spinal injuries and need for surgeries: plaintiff





Result type

Not present

back, bulging disc, cervical, fusion, knee, lumbar, lumbar knee, meniscus, neck, tear neck
On April 15, 2015, plaintiff Charlette Avery, 37, a certified home health aide and nurse’s assistant, was driving in Campbell when a truck operated by Braddon McKee made a right turn from the far left lane, broadsiding Avery’s compact vehicle. Avery claimed to her left knee, lower back, and neck. Avery sued McKee and McKee’s employer, Vinculums Services, LLC. Avery alleged that McKee was negligent in the operation of his vehicle and that Vinculums Services was vicariously liable for McKee’s actions. At trial, McKee and Vinculums Services admitted liability for the accident., Avery was taken by ambulance to a hospital, where she presented with complaints of pain to her left knee. She claimed she sustained a bulging cervical disc at the C5-6 level and a bulging lumbar disc at the L4-5 level. Avery underwent an exploratory knee arthroscopy in December 2015, which revealed a tear of the left knee’s meniscus and scarring. She then underwent a cervical fusion in January 2017 and a lumbar fusion in March 2019. Avery had work restrictions of no repetitive bending, twisting or stooping, and no lifting more than 10 pounds. She claimed that as a result, she was required to take less strenuous jobs. She also claimed that she requires future medical follow up treatment with a spinal surgeon and that she would require treatment for the remainder of her life. Avery sought recovery of past and future medical costs, past and future lost earnings, and damages for her past and future pain and suffering. According to defense counsel, plaintiff’s counsel asked the jury to award Avery damages in excess of $3.8 million. Defense counsel admitted that there was moderate damage to the vehicles and that Avery suffered some . Counsel also admitted that some of Avery’s medical care was reasonable and necessary, but disputed that all of Avery’s alleged and treatment were caused by the accident. Specifically, defense counsel argued that Avery’s bulging discs were pre-existing and that Avery’s neck and lower back surgeries were not reasonable or necessary. The defense’s biomechanical expert opined that the crash involved a low impact and that it could not have caused any structural damage to Avery’s spine. The defense’s expert neurosurgeon opined that Avery’s need for spinal fusions were not caused by the crash.
Superior Court of Santa Clara County, Santa Clara, CA

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