Case details

Couple claimed rear-ender caused neck and back injuries





Result type

Not present

annular tear, anxiety, back, cervical, foot, herniated disc, lower back, lumbar, lumbar sprains, mental, neck, neurological, psychological, radiculopathy, ribs, sprain, strains
On Nov. 1, 2013, plaintiffs Alfred Sanchez, 48, a construction worker, and Ana Maria Sanchez, 45, a part-time food service employee, were traveling east on the Christopher Columbus Transcontinental Highway, also known as Interstate 10, in Yucaipa. When they were near Yucaipa Boulevard, when they were rear-ended by a Chevrolet Tahoe operated by Steve Rivera. The impact caused the Sanchez vehicle to hit the center divider, spin around, and wind up perpendicular to oncoming traffic. Mr. Sanchez claimed of the neck, lower back, and a foot. Ms. Sanchez claimed of the neck, lower back, and ribs. Mr. Sanchez and Ms. Sanchez sued Rivera and Rivera’s employer, the county of San Bernardino. The Sanchezes alleged that Rivera was negligent in the operation of the vehicle and that the county was liable for Rivera’s actions while in the course and scope of his employment. Mr. Sanchez claimed that he was driving a Mitsubishi Mirage on I-10 when he slowed down due to traffic in front of him, but that Rivera rear-ended his vehicle. Liability was conceded, and the Sanchezes dismissed Rivera at the commencement of trial. Thus, the matter continued against the county on issue of damages only., After the accident, Mr. Sanchez and Ms. Sanchez both presented to a walk-in medical facility. Mr. Sanchez sustained cervical and lumbar sprains and strains. He also complained of pain in his right foot. On Nov. 5, 2013, he commenced a three-month course of physical therapy and chiropractic care. Mr. Sanchez claimed that his conservative treatment was effective in bringing him to a full recovery. He also claimed that he was able to maintain his employment as a construction worker. Thus, Mr. Sanchez sought recovery of past and future medical costs, and damages for his past and future pain and suffering. Ms. Sanchez sustained a herniated cervical disc at the C5-6 and C6-7 levels, and an annular tear in the lumbar spine at the L3-4 level, resulting in cervical radiculopathy and intercostal neuralgia. On Nov. 5, 2013, she commenced a two-year course of physical therapy and chiropractic care. She then underwent radiofrequency ablations in April 2015 and March 2016, and an epidural steroid injection in June 2015. In addition, Ms. Sanchez received three intercostal nerve blocks between the time of the accident and 2016, and she underwent psychotherapy to address anxiety that was allegedly brought on by the accident. Ms. Sanchez was able to continue working throughout her treatment, but she allegedly required assistance with lifting items at work. She claimed that she continues to suffer neck, back and rib pain. She alleged that as a result, she is indicated for a future spinal cord stimulator and future radiofrequency ablations. Thus, Ms. Sanchez sought recovery of past and future medical costs, and damages for past and future pain and suffering. Defense counsel argued that although Mr. Sanchez’s injury claims and treatment were reasonable, the costs were excessive. Counsel also argued that Ms. Sanchez would not need any future medical procedures. The defense’s expert neurologist testified that Ms. Sanchez was diagnosed with intercostal neuralgia, but opined that it was caused by shingles.
Superior Court of San Bernardino County, San Bernardino, CA

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