Case details

Crash would not have caused alleged lumbar injury: defense





Result type

Not present

back, herniated disc, herniated disc neck, lower back, lumbar pain, neck
On Jan. 16, 2013, plaintiff Daniel Judd, 35, an automotive welder, was driving on North McDowell Boulevard, in Santa Rosa, when his vehicle was rear-ended by a vehicle operated by Charles Schaer. The frame of Judd’s vehicle was bent in the accident, and Judd claimed to his neck and lower back. Judd sued Schaer, alleging that Schaer was negligent in the operation of his vehicle. Schaer admitted liability., Judd claimed he injured his neck and lower back, specifically including two herniated discs, as a result of the accident. He was subsequently taken to Petaluma Valley Hospital, in Petaluma, where he was treated and released. Judd later treated his lumbar pain with epidural injections, physical therapy, and pain medication. Plaintiff’s counsel contended that there was no evidence of pre-existing spinal problems other than a prior transitory lower back complaint. Counsel also contended that Judd worked sporadically after the accident until he was ultimately placed on disability about one year after the accident. Judd claimed that he is now unable to work and that he will eventually need surgery. Thus, Judd sought recovery of past and future medical costs, past and future loss of earnings, and damages for his past and future pain and suffering. (Judd claimed he had $6,308 in costs for his past medical treatment, mainly at a Kaiser Permanente facility, but the costs of treatment were not presented into evidence.) Judge Elliot Daum excluded evidence regarding the disputed results of an alleged test for illicit drugs, testimony about possible secondary gain behavior by a Kaiser doctor, and evidence of a hernia surgery. However, he permitted testimony from the defense’s biomechanical expert. Defense counsel argued that the forces of the accident were insufficient to cause a lumbar injury. Counsel also argued that Judd suffered from degenerative back conditions and only sustained, at most, a soft-tissue injury that should have healed in a matter of months.
Superior Court of Sonoma County, Sonoma, CA

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