Case details

Defense claimed plaintiff had history of spinal degeneration





Result type

Not present

backbulging disc, cervical bulges, desiccation lumbar levels, neck, neuroforaminal narrowing
On May 8, 2012, plaintiff Vera King, an employee of the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission in her 60s, was driving near the intersection of Wilshire Boulevard and Highland Avenue, in Los Angeles, when her vehicle was rear-ended by a vehicle operated by Elizabeth Liang. King claimed to her neck and back. King sued Liang, alleging that Liang was negligent in the operation of her vehicle. Liang conceded liability., King claimed that she sustained bulging discs at the cervical and lumbar levels. King went to work after the collision, but she allegedly did not feel well. As a result, she presented to a Kaiser hospital later that night and was triaged for neck and back pain. She then went to the emergency room for further evaluation. Scans were taken, and she was referred for an orthopedic follow-up. Her scans allegedly showed a bulging disc and desiccation at the lumbar levels. The bulge was significant and pressing on the nerve, causing radicular pain. There were also cervical bulges and neuroforaminal narrowing. On May 18, 2012, King called Kaiser because she wanted to see an orthopedist and pain management specialist as soon as possible. On May 21, the referrals were placed, and King underwent a few months of physical therapy. She also received epidural injections at the cervical level. She then received no treatment for about a year. About six months before trial, King again underwent physical therapy and pain management. She contended that she will probably require surgery on her neck and back. The plaintiff’s treating orthopedist and pain management specialist from a Kaiser hospital testified that King had lumbar and cervical disc bulges and that they could not rule out the cause being from the accident. King worked for the Securities and Exchange Commission for 20 years, but she claimed she had to miss time from work after the accident for appointments and treatment. She also claimed she asked for a work modification, which she was provided, because she claimed she could not sit for long periods of time. King sought recovery for her loss of earnings, and past and future medical costs. She also sought recovery of damages for her past and future pain and suffering. Defense counsel contended that even though the vehicles contacted each other, the impact was not substantial. Thus, counsel disputed King’s , contending that King had a medical history that included degeneration of her spine. Defense counsel also argued that the wear and tear observed in the post-collision scans were typical for someone in their 60s. The defense’s biomechanical engineering expert opined that the forces of the crash were not enough to create any bulging discs. The defense’s orthopedic surgery expert opined that King’s were due to degeneration. In addition, the defense’s neuroradiology expert testified that there was no evidence of trauma in any of the scans he viewed. Thus, he opined that all of King’s were degenerative.
Superior Court of Los Angeles County, Van Nuys, CA

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