Case details

Defense claimed plaintiff’s injuries due to prior crash





Result type

Not present

bulging disc, cervical, cervical disc bulge, chondromalacia, chondromalacipatell, disc protrusion, knee, lateral meniscus, left knee, meniscus, neck, tear
On May 17, 2013, plaintiff Alicia Castro-Moreno, 60, a farm worker, was rear-ended by a 2000 Chevy truck operated by Esteban Hernandez. At the time, Hernandez was in the course and scope of his employment with Valley Petroleum Equipment. Castro-Moreno claimed to her neck and left knee. Castro-Moreno sued Hernandez and Valley Petroleum Equipment Inc. Castro-Moreno alleged that Hernandez was negligent in the operation of the truck and that Valley Petroleum Equipment was vicariously liable for Hernandez’s actions. The defendants conceded liability., Castro-Moreno claimed that she sustained a lateral meniscal tear of the left knee, resulting in an internal derangement with chondromalacia of the trochlea and the medial femoral condyle. She also claimed that she sustained a cervical disc bulge at the C3-4 level with nerve root impingement. Castro-Moreno was subsequently transported to the emergency room at Pioneers Memorial Hospital, in Brawley, where she was treated and released. Prior to the subject collision, Castro-Moreno allegedly caused a three-car, rear-end crash on Interstate 5 South, near Los Angeles, on April 7, 2013. Her 2007 Kia Optima LX was subsequently totaled in the crash. However, Castro-Moreno denied sustaining any injury from that April 2013 accident, other than suffering an airbag burn. She claimed that as a precaution, she went to a physician after the accident, was examined, and underwent X-rays. Castro-Moreno testified that the X-rays did not show any injury findings. Thus, she claimed that she suffered no injury from the April 2013 accident. On May 24, 2013, one week after the crash on May 17, 2013, Castro-Moreno presented to an expert orthopedic surgeon for treatment of her ongoing orthopedic complaints of knee pain and instability. At that time, Castro-Moreno was diagnosed with cervical and lumbar sprains and strains and an internal derangement of the left knee. However, on July 11, 2013, she underwent a left knee arthroscopy, and it was determined that she had a lateral meniscal tear of the left knee, causing a derangement, and chondromalacia of the trochlea and the medial femoral condyle. She then underwent a cervical MRI on Feb. 5, 2014. Thereafter, Castro-Moreno presented to her treating orthopedist on Feb. 26, 2014, and his record stated that the MRI showed a C3-4 disc protrusion with nerve root impingement. As a result, Castro-Moreno was referred to an expert neurosurgeon for treatment of her neck, which included physical therapy and injections to her neck. Castro-Moreno claimed that her left knee meniscus tear and cervical disc bulge were the result of the subject May 2013 collision. She also claimed that despite treatment, she suffers from ongoing pain to her neck and left knee. Castro-Moreno alleged that as a result, she will eventually need an anterior cervical disc fusion and a total knee replacement. Thus, Castro-Moreno sought recovery of $42,869.70 in past medical costs for her emergency room treatment, physical therapy, imaging studies, and treatment with her orthopedic surgeon and neurosurgeon. She also sought recovery of $45,000 in future medical costs for the knee replacement and cervical fusion. In addition, she sought recovery of the cost to repair her vehicle, and damages for her past and future pain and suffering. According to defense counsel, during closing statements, plaintiff’s counsel asked the jury to award Castro-Moreno $4,157,000 in total damages. Defense counsel contended that Hernandez’s vehicle suffered only minimal damage from the May 2013 collision and that the damage to Castro-Moreno’s vehicle only totaled $1,767.51. Thus, counsel argued that the subject collision was not of an injury-producing nature. Defense counsel further argued that if Castro-Moreno suffered any injury to her neck and left knee, it was as a result of the prior, April 2013 crash, which Castro-Moreno caused. In addition, defense counsel contended that Castro-Moreno did not tell any of her medical providers about the prior collision.
Superior Court of Imperial County, El Centro, CA

Recommended Experts


Get a FREE consultation for your case