Case details

Defense argued plaintiff exaggerated alleged symptoms





Result type

Not present

back, neck, neurological, neurological impairment
On Sept. 9, 2011, plaintiff David Hurst, 54, a pest exterminator, was traveling east on Spring Street, approaching the intersection with Atlantic Avenue, in Long Beach, when he saw the light change from green to yellow. As Hurst entered the intersection in the eastbound number two lane, a vehicle operated by Jesus Galvan, who was traveling west on Spring Street with his 12-year-old son in the car with him, pulled into the left-turn lane at Atlantic Avenue with the intent of turning left onto southbound Atlantic Avenue. Subsequently, Hurst’s vehicle struck the front of Galvan’s turning vehicle, causing Galvan’s vehicle to spin 90 degrees. Hurst claimed he lost consciousness, and suffered neck, back and neurological . Hurst sued Jesus Galvan and the owner of Mr. Galvan’s vehicle, Dolores Galvan, Mr. Galvan’s wife. Hurst alleged that Mr. Galvan was negligent in the operation of his vehicle and Mrs. Galvan was vicariously liable for her husband’s actions. Mrs. Galvan was ultimately dismissed from the case prior to trial. Hurst claimed that he entered the intersection on a yellow light when Mr. Galvan attempted a left turn in front of him. Thus, he claimed that Mr. Galvan violated his right-of-way and caused the accident. Mr. Galvan alleged that he was in the intersection, waiting for traffic to clear so he could make the left turn, when he watched the light turn from green to yellow to red. He noted that eastbound traffic had come to a stop in the number one, left-turn, lane and in the number three, right-turn, lane. He claimed that due to vehicles stopping in the eastbound number one and three lanes, not seeing any other vehicles approaching, and the light turning red, he attempted to make his left turn. However, Galvan claimed that once he had committed to his left turn, he saw Hurst’s vehicle coming down the eastbound number two lane of Spring Street. Thus, Galvan contended that Hurst was negligent for running a red light and striking the front of his vehicle, causing it to spin 90 degrees., Hurst claimed he lost consciousness in the accident. He complained of neck, back and shoulder pain and claimed he suffered neurological . Hurst was subsequently taken by ambulance to a hospital, where he was treated and released. He then sought his own medical treatment and physical therapy for the next several months, as well as took prescribed medication for pain. Hurst claimed that since the time of the accident, he would collapse for no apparent reason. He also claimed that he was unable to sit, walk or climb stairs without significant difficulty and that he was unable to work. The plaintiff’s orthopedic expert testified that all of Hurst’s claims of were related to the accident. Hurst filed a workers’ compensation claim, which had a $104,317 lien for medical bills, temporary disability, and permanent disability costs. Thus, Hurst sought recovery of $104,317 for his medical costs and loss of income. Plaintiff’s counsel let the jury to decide the amount of damages for Hurst’s alleged pain and suffering. The defense’s orthopedic and neurological experts disputed all of Hurst’s , and opined that Hurst had, at most, temporary soft-tissue neck and right shoulder , which resolved within several months. They also testified that their respective medical examinations of Hurst, performed in order to determine the validity of Hurst’s alleged , found potential “symptom magnification.” Defense counsel contended that medical records contradicted Hurst on the issue of losing consciousness. Counsel also contended that orthopedic and neurological examinations determined that Hurst was “magnifying his symptoms” and that most of Hurst’s alleged either did not exist or had nothing to do with the accident. Defense counsel also present a sub rosa video of Hurst, which showed Hurst doing most of the physical activities that he claimed he could not do.
Superior Court of Los Angeles County, Long Beach, CA

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