Case details

Crash caused chronic pain and eating disorder: plaintiff claimed





Result type

Not present

back, mental, neck, post-traumatic stress disorder, psychological, PTSD, soft tissue
On Sept. 17, 2008, plaintiff Hannah Freeman, 15, a student, was a rear seat passenger in a car pool vehicle that was stopped on Encinitas Boulevard in Encinitas when it was rear-ended by a vehicle operated by 17-year-old Zachary Garcia, who was also driving to school. Hannah claimed to her neck and back, as well as emotional distress. Hannah sued Zachary and the owner of the Zachary’s vehicle, Daniel Garcia. Hannah alleged that Zachary was negligent in the operation of his vehicle and that Daniel Garcia was vicariously liable for Zachary’s actions. The vehicle owner, Daniel Garcia, was ultimately exonerated from liability under California law due to prior settlements with the driver of Hannah’s vehicle and the two other passengers. Zachary conceded liability., Hannah claimed soft-tissue neck and back , which became chronic, as a result of the crash. She subsequently went to an emergency room after the collision and later treated with her pediatrician. She then treated with a series of doctors and healthcare providers over the next five years. Hannah’s treatment included physical therapy, chiropractic care, medication, massages, and injections. Plaintiff’s counsel contended that Hannah was a 15-year-old elite soccer player who had to quit soccer as a result of her . Counsel also contended that Hannah suffered emotional distress, including post-traumatic stress disorder, as a result of the accident. Plaintiff’s counsel further contended that Hannah’s psychological caused her to develop an eating disorder, particularly, bulimia nervosa. Hannah claimed she treated over 200 times for her back issues and over 70 times with counselors. She also claimed she had to go to an eating clinic for her emotional . Thus, Hannah sought recovery of $89,328 in past medical costs, and an unspecified amount of damages for her past and future pain and suffering. Defense counsel disputed the nature, extent, and causation of Hannah’s alleged . Counsel contended that Hannah had no objective clinical signs of injury to her back and that the plaintiff’s expert osteopath did not render the bulk of Hannah’s treatment. Counsel also contended that Hannah continued to engage in sports while she claimed a disabling injury. Defense counsel further contended that there was no cognizable evidence that the automobile accident caused Hannah to develop bulimia, in that the plaintiff’s family therapy expert could not treat bulimia and that the defense’s psychiatry expert opined that Hannah’s unique family dynamics were the cause. Thus, defense counsel asserted that Hannah only suffered a simple back strain, which required no more than three months of treatment, and that the emotional issues Hannah suffered were unrelated to the accident.
Superior Court of San Diego County, Vista, CA

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