Case details

Defense: Crash did not cause plaintiff’s knee and back injuries





Result type

Not present

back, herniated disc, knee, lower back, meniscus, right knee, tear
On March 20, 2010, plaintiff Stanley Hicks, 58, a janitor, was driving on westbound Ramona Expressway in San Jacinto. At approximately 10:30 p.m., when he was 300 feet west of State Street, Hicks broadsided a vehicle operated by Evelyn Ortega, who was attempting a U-turn. Hicks claimed to his right knee and lower back. Hicks sued Evelyn Ortega and the owner of the vehicle, Guadalupe Gonzalez (who was also erroneously sued as Maria Ortega). Hicks alleged that Evelyn Ortega was negligent in the operation of her vehicle and that Gonzalez was vicariously liable for Evelyn Ortega’s actions. Hicks claimed that Evelyn Ortega disregarded a “right-turn only” sign and right-turn-only pavement markings by moving forward and attempting a left turn onto Ramona Expressway. He also claimed Evelyn Ortega was blocked by a raised center median and was attempting a U-turn back into a driveway when the collision occurred. Evelyn Ortega admitted liability for the accident, and the matter proceeded to a trial on causation and damages only., Six days after the accident, Hicks presented to Loma Linda University Medical Center with complaints of pain to his right knee and lower back. He was eventually diagnosed with a torn meniscus in his right knee and a herniated disc at L5-S1. Hicks first treated conservatively with chiropractic care, physical therapy, orthopedic visits, and two facet joint injections. In October 2010, he underwent arthroscopic right knee surgery. However, Hicks claimed his knee condition did not improve and he ultimately underwent a total right knee replacement in July 2013. Hicks claimed he still experiences lower back pain and discomfort, and will eventually require a lumbar fusion. He also claimed ongoing knee issues, requiring the use of a cane. Thus, Hicks alleged that he will require a second total knee replacement in 10 years. In addition, Hicks claimed that he is limited at work now, requiring 15 minutes breaks every hour, and that his and condition will lead to an early retirement. Hicks sought recovery of roughly $857,000 in total damages, including $200,000 in future surgery costs, and damages for his past and future pain and suffering. Defense counsel disputed Hicks’ alleged and damages. Counsel contended that Hicks suffered from pre-existing, degenerative right knee and lower back conditions, and that the accident was not a substantial factor in causing any new injury. Defense counsel also contended that Hicks’ knee surgeries were reasonable and necessary, but not related to the subject accident.
Superior Court of Riverside County, Riverside, CA

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