Case details

Defense claimed turning driver could not predict passing vehicle





Result type

Not present

back, chronic lower back, knees, pain
At approximately 5 p.m. on Nov. 4, 2011, plaintiff Catherine Bennett, 56, a Medi-Cal Supervisor, was traveling in her vehicle on northbound Florin Perkins Road, in Sacramento. As Bennett approached the intersection with Jackson Highway, she attempted to pass stopped traffic on the right side of the northbound lanes, prior to entering the designated right turn lane. At the same time, a vehicle operated by Woo Chung attempted a U-turn from southbound Florin Perkins Road, resulting in a collision with the driver’s side of Bennett’s vehicle. The impact caused Bennett’s vehicle to subsequently spin out and collide with a third vehicle. Bennett alleged to her neck, upper and lower back, right wrist, and right knee. Bennett sued the driver involved in the initial collision, Chung, alleging that he was negligent in the operation of his vehicle. The plaintiff’s accident reconstruction expert testified that that Bennett was lawfully passing vehicles when Chung failed to yield the right-of-way, causing the collision. Defense counsel disputed liability, and the defense’s accident reconstruction expert testified that Bennett was not driving in a reasonably safe manner as she passed vehicles on the right. The expert further opined that Bennett was driving too fast for the conditions and that Chung did not have a reasonable expectation that Bennett’s vehicle would be passing vehicles at the accident location., Eleven days after the accident, Bennett sought treatment with her primary care physician. The next day, she followed up with a chiropractor, during which Bennett complained of pain in her back and both knees. She then continued with 10 months of chiropractic treatment, while also attending physical therapy for her ongoing lower back pain. Bennett also sought treatment with an orthopedic surgeon, who diagnosed her with a complete collapse of the L4 and L5 levels, a disc protrusion at L5-S1, and an aggravation of pre-existing spondylosis at L4-5. As a result, the orthopedic surgeon recommended surgery. Bennett claimed that the force of the impact caused her to suffer from continued chronic lower back pain. The plaintiff’s treating orthopedic surgeon testified that Bennett would require further care, including surgery for the lower back injury. Thus, Bennett sought recovery of damages for her past and future pain and suffering, as well as reimbursement of past medical expenses in the amount of $9,431 and future medical expenses of in excess of $150,000. Defense counsel agreed that Bennett sustained an aggravation of her lower back condition, necessitating chiropractic care and physical therapy. However, counsel disputed the extent of Bennett’s chiropractic care and the alleged need for future lower back surgery. The defense’s orthopedic surgery expert testified that Bennett’s were treated appropriately with the exception of excessive chiropractic care. The expert also opined that Bennet does not require surgery.
Superior Court of Sacramento County, Sacramento, CA

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