Case details

Defense claimed plaintiffs exaggerated injuries from crash





Result type

Not present

back, head knee neck shoulder, lower back
On Nov. 15, 2011, at around 8 a.m., plaintiff Daniel Sager, an unemployed 57 year old, was operating his vehicle on Lakeshore Drive in Clearlake with his wife, plaintiff Sharon Sager, an unemployed 52 year old, as a front seat passenger. While Mr. Sager was stopped, waiting for traffic to clear so that he could make a turn, he was rear-ended by a vehicle operated by Skylar Griffin. The Sagers each claimed to their neck, lower back and right knee, while Mr. Sager also claimed a right shoulder injury and Ms. Sager also claimed a head injury. The Sagers sued Griffin, alleging that the defendant was negligent in the operation of her vehicle. Griffin claimed that the sun was in her eyes, somewhat obscuring her vision. She also claimed that she braked upon first observing the plaintiffs’ vehicle, but that she could not stop in time. Thus, Griffin ultimately conceded liability., The Sagers both received emergency room treatment on the day of the accident and then followed up with their primary care providers. Mr. Sager claimed that he suffered immediate pain to his neck, right shoulder, lower back and right knee after the accident. His wife claimed she suffered immediate pain in her head, neck, lower back, and right knee after the accident, and rated her pain as being “10/10.” After being discharged from the hospital, both Mr. and Ms. Sager pursued physical therapy over the next three months before ultimately discontinuing it. However, they both testified at trial that they each continually received chiropractic care approximately once every six weeks up to the date of trial. The Sagers each testified that their respective pain was still present daily, although it had improved somewhat. They also both testified that their lifestyles had been significantly worsened because of their pain complaints and physical limitations. Thus, Mr. Sager sought recovery of $27,333.70 in total damages, including $2,083.70 in past medical special damages (which was stipulated to), $250 in future medical special damages, $15,000 in damages for his past pain and suffering and $10,000 in damages for his future pain and suffering. In addition, Ms. Sager sought recovery of $37,374.26 in total damages, including $2,124.26 in past medical special damages (which was stipulated to), $250 in future medical special damages, $20,000 in damages for her past pain and suffering and $15,000 in damages for her future pain and suffering. Since neither of the Sagers was employed, they did not make a claim for lost income. Defense counsel cross-examined all five of the plaintiffs’ non-retained expert witnesses and established that despite the plaintiffs’ trial testimony about their “ongoing” problems, they had not sought treatment for any issues related to the accident since February 2012, three months after the accident. Defense counsel contended that although the plaintiffs’ chiropractor testified on direct examination that he recalled treating each plaintiff approximately once every six weeks, and most recently six weeks before the trial, it was established by the chiropractor’s own billing records that he had not seen either of them since February 2012. Counsel further contended that during the three-month period when the plaintiffs were undergoing treatment, their complaints were not nearly as severe or all-encompassing as they had testified to at trial. In addition, defense counsel cross-examined the plaintiffs’ primary care physician and established that each had said that they made a “good recovery” by the end of February 2012, and neither ever mentioned accident-related complaints again despite being seen for other issues after that time, including full physical examinations without any mention of pain or physical limitations.
Superior Court of Lake County, Lakeport, CA

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