Case details

Defense: Mom and daughters not injured in low-speed crash





Result type

Not present

back, neck, soft tissue
On Aug. 12, 2010, plaintiff Maria Uballe, 43, a real estate agent, was traveling on southbound Golden State Boulevard in Turlock, accompanied by her daughters, plaintiff Natalie Uballe, 18, in the front passenger seat, and plaintiff Emma Uballe, 8, in the rear of the vehicle. At approximately 5:30 p.m., while approaching the intersection of Monte Vista Avenue, their car was rear-ended by a vehicle operated by Margarita Ramos. The occupants of the Uballe vehicle all claimed neck and back from the accident. Uballe, acting individually and on behalf of her daughters, Natalie and Emma, sued Ramos and the believed owner of the vehicle, Amelia Gutierrez. She alleged Ramos was negligent in the operation of her vehicle and that Gutierrez was vicariously liable for her actions. Gutierrez was ultimately dismissed from the case prior to trial, since it was learned that she was not an owner of the vehicle driven by Ramos. Plaintiffs’ counsel contended that Ramos caused the collision by speeding and being inattentive. It was disputed whether Uballe was stopped or moving slowly at the time of the collision. Ramos admitted fault for the accident, and the matter proceeded to an expedited trial on causation and damages., Uballe and her daughters went to Emanuel Medical Center in Turlock on the date of the accident with complaints of soft-tissue to their neck and back. Uballe had three visits with her family physician, and treated with a chiropractor from August 2010 through November 2011. Natalie had two visits with the physician, but declined chiropractic care. Emma treated with the chiropractor from September 2010 through May 2011. Natalie claimed that she is fully healed after treating with her family physician. However, Uballe claimed that she still experiences continuing pain in her neck and back, and Emma, who missed some gym classes in school, complained of minor, continuing pain. Thus, the plaintiffs sought recovery of damages for their pain and suffering, and the parties stipulated to the incurred post-Howell reduction medical specials of $6,268.56 for Uballe, $1,463 for Emma, and $385 for Natalie. Defense counsel stipulated to the post-Howell reduction of the plaintiffs’ medical specials, but disputed their reasonableness or necessity, contending that the plaintiffs were not injured in the accident. Counsel estimated that the impact of the accident was less than five miles per hour, and that the force was insufficient to cause any serious injury.
Superior Court of Stanislaus County, Modesto, CA

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