Case details

Defense: Injuries could not be caused by low-impact crash





Result type

Not present

back, neck, soft tissue
On June 24, 2011, at about 3:45 p.m., plaintiff Phi Truong, a houseman, was operating his Toyota Solara on Kearny Street, on his way to San Francisco’s Chinatown, when he came to a stop at an intersection with Sacramento Street and was rear-ended by a Mercedes-Benz four-door sedan. Truong claimed back and neck from the accident. Truong sued the driver of the Mercedes-Benz, Steven Liu, and the registered owner of the vehicle, Su Ling Kong. Truong initially sued only Kong, but after the complaint was filed, he substituted Kong for her son when it was determined that Liu was the actual driver. Although Kong was dismissed from the matter, Truong later filed a separate action against her for negligent entrustment. Truong claimed that he stopped at the light controlling Kearny and Sacramento Streets for approximately five seconds when he was rear-ended by Liu. Liu claimed that although he and Truong came to a complete stop for the red light, Truong had actually stopped inside the intersection. Thus, he claimed that in order to let eastbound traffic on Sacramento Street pass, Truong put his car into reverse and struck him., Truong claimed he suffered soft-tissue to his neck, and upper and lower back. He subsequently presented to a chiropractor on the day of the accident and began a course of 29 chiropractic treatments at a cost of $3,440. It was undisputed that the accident caused minor damage to both cars. Truong’s vehicle required $808.50 to paint over a scratch on the rear bumper. Liu’s vehicle suffered no damage. At the time of the accident, Truong was employed as a houseman at the Radisson Hotel in Fisherman’s Warf, earning $131 per day and working five days per week. However, Truong claimed that he missed six days of work as a result of his , causing him to suffer $789.72 in total lost wages. He also claimed that he requires additional spinal treatment, including epidural and facet injections based on the recommendation of his retained medical expert. Thus, Truong sought recovery of $789.72 in past lost earnings, $9,000 in future medical expenses for the cost of the injections, and $805 for the damage to his vehicle. Defense counsel argued that even if Truong’s version of the incident was to be believed, Truong’s alleged damages could not have been caused by the accident. Counsel contended the accident involved a very minor, low-impact collision, which was exhibited by the lack of damage to either vehicle. In addition, counsel noted that Truong testified at deposition that his vehicle was not pushed forward after the impact. Thus, defense counsel argued that Truong’s deposition testimony, combined with the lack of damage to the vehicles, showed that a whiplash injury could not have been caused by the subject accident.
Superior Court of San Francisco County, San Francisco, CA

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