Case details

Defense: Driver had significant pre-accident medical history





Result type

Not present

back, fusion, lumbar
On Nov. 28, 2007, plaintiff Tiffany Mitchell, 25, a certified medical assistant, was traveling on Northgate Boulevard in her Honda Civic when she was rear-ended by a Comcast commercial van at the intersection with North Market Road in Sacramento. Mitchell claimed to her pelvis, neck and back. Mitchell sued the driver of the van, James Scales, and the owner of the van, Comcast of Sacramento I, LLC. Mitchell alleged the Scales was negligent in the operation of the van and that Comcast was vicariously liable for Scales’ actions. Mitchell ultimately admitted liability., Mitchell claimed the frame of her vehicle was damaged due to the Comcast van being approximately twice the weight of her Honda Civic. Thus, she claimed the impact caused multiple to her neck, lower back, sacroiliac joint and tailbone. Mitchell subsequently underwent physical therapy, and injections to the lumbar spine and sacroiliac joint. However, she ultimately required two back surgeries, consisting of a fusion and laminectomy at the L5-S1 level and a bilateral sacroiliac fusion. Mitchell claimed that as of the time of trial, she remains symptomatic in her lower back, sacroiliac joint and tailbone areas. She alleged that her condition affected her ability to work as a certified medical assistant, caring for disabled and ill patients, as well as her ability to attend college, where she was pursuing a registered nursing degree. Thus, Mitchell claimed $67,117.80 in past medical expenses, spread over 33 providers (approximately 10,000 pages of medical records were identified as exhibits at trial). Defense counsel subsequently entered into a Howell stipulation approximating that figure. Plaintiff’s counsel also asked the jury to award in excess of $200,000 for Mitchell’s past lost earnings. Defense counsel argued that Mitchell had a significant pre-accident medical history that was essentially concealed from Mitchell’s post-accident treating physicians.
Superior Court of Sacramento County, Sacramento, CA

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