Case details

Defense disputed radiculopathy claim following crash





Result type

Not present

back, herniated disc, neck, neurological, radicular pain, radiculitis
On Dec. 3, 2014, plaintiff Christopher Nguyen, an accountant in his 20s, was driving on the eastbound side of Sixth Street, in Los Angeles. While he was proceeding through the intersection at South Cloverdale Avenue, his car was struck by a car that was being driven by Kelsey Young, who was traveling on the southbound side of South Cloverdale Avenue. Young initially crossed the westbound lanes of Sixth Street and then stopped at the median separating westbound and eastbound traffic. She then attempted to continue across Sixth Street’s eastbound lanes, but her vehicle hit the driver’s side door of Nguyen’s vehicle. Nguyen claimed to his neck and back. Nguyen sued Young, alleging that Young was negligent in the operation of her vehicle. Plaintiff’s counsel contended that Young failed to yield to the oncoming traffic. Young conceded liability, and the trial solely addressed damages., Nguyen claimed herniated discs at the C3-4, L3-4, L4-5 and L5-S1 levels, resulting in cervical and lumbar radiculitis. He did not go to a hospital from the scene, but presented to his chiropractor’s office later that day. Nguyen received four months of chiropractic treatment. He then began a course of pain management care that included injections. He was administered two epidural injections of steroid-based painkillers to his lumbar spine and two in his cervical spine. The injections took place between May and August of 2016. He then followed up with several additional months of chiropractic treatment and continued to receive treatment periodically up until the time of trial. Nguyen admitted that his neck injury had mostly healed. However, he claimed he may need additional chiropractic care, pain management, and epidural steroid injections in his back. He also alleged that he may need a future lumbar discectomy and fusion. Nguyen claimed that his continued back pain made it harder for him to socialize and exercise. He also claimed that he has to take more frequent breaks at his job. He further claimed that he wants to go visit his elderly grandmother in Asia, but that he is unable to travel on a plane because of his . Nguyen sought recovery of approximately $70,000 in past medical expenses. He also sought recovery of future medical expenses, and damages for his past and future pain and suffering. In total, his counsel asked the jury to award Nguyen $290,000. Defense counsel maintained that Nguyen’s were consistent with soft tissue sprains and strains. Counsel also argued that any herniated discs that were present in Nguyen’s spine were degenerative in nature and were not impinging on nerve roots. Thus, defense counsel disputed whether Nguyen had radiculitis. Defense counsel contended that during the first four months of chiropractic treatment, Nguyen did not complain of any radiating symptoms. Counsel also contended that Nguyen’s condition improved during that time and that Nguyen did not have many of the typical symptoms of radiculopathy, including extremity numbness, weakness and tingling. As a result, defense counsel argued that the injections were unnecessary, as there was no indication that Nguyen needed the epidural steroid injections. Defense counsel further contended that Nguyen had a gap in treatment before he started seeing the pain management doctor that was recommended by his attorney and that Nguyen did not start mentioning possible radiculopathy until he started seeing that pain management doctor. Counsel argued that this was further evidence that Nguyen did not have radiculopathy.
Superior Court of Los Angeles County, Torrance, CA

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