Case details

Defense claimed neck injuries not causally related to crash





Result type

Not present

bruise, cervical, fracture, head, neck
At approximately 5:45 p.m. on Dec. 15, 2009, plaintiff Abraham Smith, 81, a retired railroad worker, was turning left into an AutoZone parking lot from northbound N. Marks Avenue, just north of W. Ashlan Avenue in Fresno, when he collided with Clair Roberts. The right front quarter panel of Smith’s vehicle was struck by the front bumper of Roberts’ vehicle, which was traveling south on N. Marks Avenue. Smith claimed to his neck, left shoulder and forehead. Smith sued Roberts. He alleged the defendant was negligent in the operation of her vehicle. Smith claimed that as he began turning left into the parking lot from the uncontrolled middle lane, he saw that the southbound number one lane was clear and that there was an opening that would allow him to turn into the parking lot. He alleged that he never stopped as he continued turning into the shopping center, but that he was broadsided by Roberts, who accelerated into his vehicle. Plaintiff’s counsel presented an independent eyewitness, who was deposed and signed a hand-written statement. The witness claimed that she saw Roberts approaching rapidly in the number one, southbound lane at an estimated speed of 40 mph. Thus, counsel contended that Roberts caused the collision because she was speeding. Roberts claimed that she was approaching in the number one, southbound lane and that as traffic was slowing/stopping, he changed into the number two lane. She estimated that her speed was 37 mph when she changed lanes (where there was a 40 mph speed limit), and that she never saw Smith until the plaintiff turned left in front of her vehicle., Smith walked home from the accident scene and was taken to an emergency room by his wife later that night. He sustained a hematoma on his forehead and tenderness in his left shoulder. He also underwent MRIs, which revealed a possible cervical spine decompression fracture, degenerative disc disease and spinal stenosis. Smith subsequently wore a brace for six weeks and followed up with physical therapy. Smith claimed that he still deals with residual shoulder and neck pain. He alleged that as a result, he now has difficulty performing yard work or anything that requires him to lift his arm over his shoulder. Thus, Smith sought recovery of $13,454.74 in damages for his past medical costs and an unspecified amount in damages for his past and future pain and suffering. Defense counsel contended that Smith’s had no permanency, as his own treating orthopedist reported that the plaintiff was almost pain-free by February 2010. Counsel also argued that Smith’s neck injury was not causally related to the accident, contending that the plaintiff had pre-existing degenerative changes.
Superior Court of Fresno County, Fresno, CA

Recommended Experts


Get a FREE consultation for your case