Case details

Defense: Injuries degenerative and not caused by accident





Result type

Not present

back, bulging disc, knee, lateral meniscus, lower back, lumbar, medial meniscus, tear
On May 29, 2008, plaintiff Grace Kim, 54, a homemaker, was stopped in traffic on the eastbound 91 freeway in her 1995 Ford Explorer with a 2008 Chevy Cobalt stopped behind her. However, Elmer Glover, who was driving a 2005 GMC Yukon, failed to stop and crashed into the Cobalt at roughly 50 mph. The impact propelled the Cobalt into the rear of Kim’s vehicle, which was then pushed into the rear of a stopped 1999 Mercedes E320. All four vehicles were declared total losses and Kim was knocked unconscious. Personnel from the Los Angeles Fire Department removed Kim out of the back of her Explorer on a backboard with a cervical collar, as the doors would not open due to the property damage. Kim sued Glover, alleging that the defendant was negligent in the operation of his vehicle. Glover, who died from unrelated causes after the accident, admitted liability for the incident., Kim lost consciousness in the accident and was transported by ambulance to Kaiser Hospital – Bellflower. She subsequently underwent MRIs of her lower back, left knee and left shoulder. Kim alleged that she sustained left knee medial and lateral meniscal tears, lower back and neck strains, lower lumbar disc bulges at L4-5 and L5-S1, and left shoulder strain with internal derangement, resulting in a frozen shoulder. As a result, she underwent three months of chiropractic care, one year of physical therapy and three years of orthopedic care. Kim’s past medical bills, which were not discounted by any insurer, totaled $26,510.42. The plaintiff’s orthopedist opined that Kim required arthroscopic surgery at a cost of $30,000 to $40,000 to repair the torn menisci. As a result of her , Kim claimed that she could no longer work, exercise, perform household chores and otherwise lead the lifestyle that she did before the accident. She alleged that she has constant pain in her lower back and left knee. Plaintiff’s counsel asked the jury to award Kim roughly $150,000 in past and future general damages. The defendant’s insurer paid Kim’s property damage and she did not make a claim for lost earnings. Defense counsel disputed the plaintiff’s alleged and treatment. Counsel admitted that Kim lost consciousness and that she sustained sprains/strains of her neck, lower back, left shoulder and left knee. However, counsel argued that Kim’s lower back bulges and left knee meniscal tears were degenerative, and not caused or aggravated by the accident. Defense counsel also admitted that Kim’s warranted ambulance transport, emergency room care, X-rays, an orthopedic consult and limited physical therapy, but argued that the cost of such care should be $4,511.25. Defense counsel further argued that all of Kim’s other past and future care was unnecessary and unreasonable. Thus, defense counsel told the jury to award the plaintiff only $5,000 for past general damages and $0 for future general damages.
Superior Court of Los Angeles County, Norwalk, CA

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