Case details

Defense argued plaintiff’s injuries not caused by crash





Result type

Not present

back, chest, head, headaches, lower back, neck, upper back
On Jan. 21, 2008, plaintiff Phuong Le, 35, a cosmetologist, was operating her 2008 Toyota Camry on southbound Balena Drive in Diamond Bar when the passenger side of her vehicle was struck by the left side of a 2007 Toyota Sienna van operated by Marie Prather. Le claimed soft-tissue from the crash. Le sued Marie Prather and the owner of the van, David Prather. She alleged that Mrs. Prather was negligent in the operation of the van and that her husband was vicariously liable for her actions. Mrs. Prather claimed she pulled away from the curb on Balena Drive, intending to proceed south on Balena Drive, when her van collided with Le’s vehicle. Thus, she conceded liability., Le claimed soft-tissue to her neck, shoulders, left non-dominant arm, chest, abdomen, and upper and lower back. She was not treated at the scene, but underwent treatment on 20 occasions with a chiropractor at Pomona Chiropractic Center between the date of the accident and March 27, 2008. Le received chiropractic adjustments, hot and cold packs, traction, ultrasound and electrical stimulation. However, she ultimately quit treating at the clinic, claiming the treatment did not help her pain and was charged $2,665 for the services at Pomona Chiropractic Center. Thereafter, between April 14, 2008, and June 20, 2008, Le treated with a chiropractor at Fairway Chiropractic Group in Rowland Heights on 16 occasions. She received the same type of therapy she received at the other clinic and was charged $4,762. At trial, Le claimed she was still experiencing constant pain in her neck and upper back, but acknowledged that she did not miss any time from work. She claimed that as a single mother of two young daughters, she could not afford to take time off from work. The plaintiff’s expert orthopedic surgeon who reviewed Le’s medical records opined that the medical services rendered to Le were reasonable and necessary as a result of the accident. The expert also opined that the best way to address Le’s ongoing complaints would be the initiation of a home exercise program. Le’s vehicle sustained damage consisting of “scrapes” along the entire right side, with the repair estimate being $3,739.94. However, the defendants’ insurance carrier settled Le’s property damage claim prior to trial. Defense counsel argued that the minor nature of the accident could not have caused the alleged, and that the medical services rendered to Le were neither reasonable nor necessary. Counsel also noted that the plaintiff’s expert never examined Le and that the Prathers’ van sustained relatively minor damage to the left front, with the repair estimate being $1,248.84. The defense’s accident reconstructionist/biomechanical expert testified that the forces involved in the accident were equivalent to the forces a person experiences in his or her everyday activities and were unlikely to have caused Le’s . The defense’s orthopedic surgeon testified that based on his medical examination of Le and his review of Le’s medical records, most of the treatment rendered to Le was neither reasonable nor necessary. The expert also opined that there was no organic basis for Le’s ongoing complaints, which he felt were due to the ongoing litigation.
Superior Court of Los Angeles County, West Covina, CA

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