Case details

Defense counsel argued knee injury not related to rear-ender





Result type

Not present

back, knee neck, neck
On Jan. 23, 2009, plaintiff Sandi Seckman, 62, an administrator, was operating her 2007 Nissan Versa on southbound Seventh Street in Berkeley, when she stopped for a stop light at the intersection with Potter Avenue. Another vehicle also stopped for the light behind Seckman on southbound Seventh Street, but a 2002 Volvo station wagon, operated by Edmund Moore, collided with the rear of the vehicle behind Seckman’s, causing that vehicle to collide with Seckman’s vehicle. Seckman claimed neck, back and right knee as a result of the accident. Seckman sued Moore, alleging that the defendant was negligent in the operation of his vehicle. Moore claimed that the light was green as he approached the intersection with Potter Avenue, but that he became momentarily distracted and did not realize the traffic ahead of him was stopped. As such, he conceded liability for the accident., Seckman claimed the impact was substantial and caused her body to be violently thrown about in her vehicle. She claimed pain in her neck, back and right knee and ultimately presented to her chiropractor four days after the accident, as she waited with the hope that the pain would resolve. Seckman sought chiropractic care from January 2009 through May 2009, with 22 sessions for the neck, back and knee. On March 6, 2009, Seckman’s chiropractor diagnosed her with a thoracic subluxation, an ilium subluxation, a cervical subluxation, a hyperflexion-extension injury, a cervical sprain/strain, and knee pain. Her chiropractor limited Seckman’s activities at work to lifting no more than 25 pounds and restricted sitting, as well as ordered no stepping, bending or climbing. During the course of treatment, Seckman claimed the knee pain was disruptive and made it unable for her to sit or stand for very long periods of time, that it disrupted her sleep and that it severely limited her physical activities. She also claimed the pain in her right knee caused her to stop dancing and caused her to feel like an invalid. Through the treatment, Seckman claimed her back recovered, but that thought her neck improved, the pain continued and she resumed limited treatment in August 2010 and again in April 2011. She also claimed that her right knee continued to bother her and treated with physical therapy from April 23, 2009, until July 16, 2009. On March 14, 2011, Seckman consulted with an orthopedic surgeon, who recommended arthroscopic surgery for her right knee. She ultimately underwent the arthroscopy on April 22, 2011. Seckman claimed that she still had periodic back spasms, but claimed that they did not interfere with her active lifestyle. She also acknowledged that she had pre-existing degenerative changes and pre-arthritic symptoms in both knees, which caused her intermittent pain. However, she claimed that although both knees bothered her, her left knee caused her more pain after the accident, but that her knees have no impact on her regular dancing schedule or walking. Seckman’s chiropractic care totaled $3,394. However, according to defense counsel, Seckman claimed past medical specials of $51,479.70, as well as lost wages of $6,403.35, and future medical care of $7,500. In addition, Seckman sought recovery of damages for past pain and suffering in the amount of $100,000 to $150,000, and for future pain and suffering in the amount of $100,000 to $150,000. Defense counsel argued that Seckman’s arthroscopic knee surgery was unrelated to the accident. Counsel contended that there was no trauma to the knee from the accident and that Seckman had knee symptoms even before the accident. Defense counsel asserted that when Seckman presented to the orthopedic surgeon who performed the arthroscopy, she complained of clicking/catching in the knee that she did not complain of in any of her prior treatment after the accident. The defense’s expert in orthopedic surgery examined Seckman before she saw the orthopedic surgeon who performed the arthroscopy and noted that Seckman did not have any complaints of catching/clicking in the knee at the time of his examination and questions.
Superior Court of Alameda County, Oakland, CA

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