Case details

Defense: Low-speed impact would not have caused injuries





Result type

Not present

back, lower back, neck
On Feb. 14, 2011, plaintiff Shayna John, 35, a news show content producer, was driving south on Mt. Hermon Road in Scotts Valley when her vehicle was rear-ended by a vehicle operated by Gregoria DeCastillo. John claimed to her neck and back. John sued DeCastillo. She alleged that DeCastillo was negligent in the operation of her vehicle. DeCastillo conceded liability., John was not taken to a hospital or treated at the scene. Instead, three days post-accident, she presented to an emergency room, where she was given Naproxen for her pain. She then saw her treating physician one week after the accident, and claimed she had soft-tissue to her neck and lower back. John was subsequently treated with two months of physical therapy. Prior to the 2011 accident, John had been in three other motor vehicle accidents when she was 18, 19 and 20 years old, and had made a claim for each one. Her treating physician opined that the prior impacts weakened John’s neck and back, and made her more susceptible to injury during the 2011 collision. John claimed that following the 2011 accident, she took off 10 days from work. However, she claimed that when she returned, she found that there were certain things that she could not do, such as carry heavy camera equipment, position video and audio equipment, and stand or sit for long periods of time. Thus, John claimed she was left with residual pain during activity. Defense counsel contended that the 2011 impact was so slight that it would have been highly unlikely that it caused John’s alleged . Counsel argued that, instead, any injury alleged by John was work-related. Counsel also argued that John’s , if any, could have been attributable to the three prior collisions. The defense’s accident reconstruction expert testified as to the speed of DeCastillo’s vehicle at the time of impact (2 to 4 mph), the change of speed of John’s vehicle (from zero to 1.2 up to 2.4 mph) and the G-forces (less than 1.0 Gs) imparted to John at the time of impact. Thus, he opined that, due to the minimal forces involved, it was highly improbable that anyone could have been injured in this accident.
Superior Court of Santa Cruz County, Santa Cruz, CA

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