Case details

Defense claimed plaintiff had pre-existing back injury





Result type

Not present

back, bulging disc, lower back, lumbar, neurological, radiculopathy
On June 4, 2018, plaintiff Kelman Garcia, 36, a factory worker, was driving on East 3rd Avenue, in San Mateo. When he was near the intersection with South Grant Street, his vehicle was rear-ended by a vehicle operated by Ting Lin. Garcia claimed to his lower back. Garcia sued Lin, alleging that Lin was negligent in the operation of her vehicle. Lin admitted liability with no comparative fault on Garcia., Garcia claimed he suffered a bulging lumbar disc at L5-S1, resulting in radiculopathy. He sought chiropractic treatment two days after the accident, on June 6, 2018. He ultimately underwent five months of chiropractic treatment and received three epidural steroid injections at the L5-S1 level. Garcia claimed he needed a future disc replacement surgery at the L5-S1 level, which would allegedly cost $200,000. The plaintiff’s expert orthopedic surgery recommended surgery and offered to perform it on a lien basis. However, Garcia had not undergone the procedure by the time of trial. Garcia was able to continue working as a factory worker, so no wage loss claim was made. However, plaintiff’s counsel noted that Garcia’s felony conviction was admitted into evidence. Plaintiff’s counsel asked the jury to award Garcia between $1.1 million and $1.7 million in total damages. Of the total damages sought, $27,000 was for past medical costs, $200,000 was for future medical costs, and the remaining amount was for damages for Garcia’s past and future pain and suffering. Defense counsel disputed the seriousness of Garcia’s alleged , contending that the the speed at the point of impact was between 19 and 30 mph. The defense experts opined that the accident did not cause a permanent injury to Garcia’s lumbar disc, but, rather, Garcia had pre-existing degenerative disc disease that was temporarily aggravated by the accident. The experts further opined that an aggravation would justify only a few months of chiropractic care. Defense counsel asked the jury to award Garcia only $25,000 in total damages.
Superior Court of San Francisco County, San Francisco, CA

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