Case details

Defense argued rear-ender did not cause plaintiff’s spinal pain





Result type

Not present

back, cervical, lumbar, neck, sprain, strain
On Dec. 4, 2015, plaintiff Karina Sanchez, a grocery store employee, was driving in Ventura County with her husband, Jose Gallegos Alcaraz, as a passenger when they stopped at a red light. Shortly after the light turned green, Sanchez’s sedan was rear-ended by a pickup truck driven by Tracy Jackson. Sanchez claimed to her neck and back. Sanchez and Alcaraz sued Jackson. They claimed Jackson was negligent in the operation of her truck. Alcaraz settled his case for $500 prior to trial. Jackson conceded liability, and the matter proceeded to an expedited jury trial that addressed causation and damages., Sanchez claimed that she sustained sprains and strains to her cervical and lumbar spine. She first sought treatment at the Spine and Orthopedic Center, in Oxnard, on Jan. 12, 2016 and had several additional visits, with the last one occurring on May 6, 2016. She also underwent approximately 25 sessions of chiropractic treatment between Jan. 27, 2016 and April 20, 2016. Sanchez claimed that she was in continued pain for the first three to four months after the crash and that she still occasionally gets minor pain in her neck and back. She also claimed that the pain made it difficult for her to work. Sanchez sought recovery of $5,533.59 in past medical expenses and $5,000 in damages for her past pain and suffering. Defense counsel argued that the low-speed impact did not cause any injury to Sanchez. Counsel noted that Sanchez did not go to a hospital from the accident scene and that Sanchez did not receive any treatment until more than a month after the car accident. The defense’s accident reconstruction expert testified that the change in velocity of Jackson’s vehicle at the time of the crash was only between 3.5 and 5.5 mph. Defense counsel noted that there was only $1,300 worth of damage to Sanchez’s car. Counsel also noted that Sanchez was in a second motor vehicle accident within two months of the subject crash and that Sanchez sold her sedan as junk shortly after this second accident. Defense counsel argued that the car was greatly damaged in the second accident and that the subsequent crash was more severe than the one involving Jackson. However, Sanchez maintained that the accident involving Jackson was the more severe crash. Defense counsel additionally challenged Sanchez’s credibility by pointing out inconsistencies in her testimony. For example, Sanchez claimed that the sedan had not been in any accidents prior to the subject crash, but the defense’s accident reconstructionist looked at photos of the sedan taken shortly after the subject accident and opined that there was evidence of damage caused by multiple vehicles. Defense counsel also noted that while Sanchez claimed she had sold the sedan to a longtime family friend, she was unable to say where that friend lived or how to contact him. In addition, defense counsel noted that, at the scene of the crash, Sanchez told Jackson that she had been driving to an agency to get automobile insurance for the sedan, but that during the trial, Sanchez claimed she was driving to the bank when the accident occurred.
Superior Court of Ventura County, Ventura, CA

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