Case details

Driver claimed rear-end crash caused need for back surgeries





Result type

Not present

back, fusion, lumbar
Plaintiff Donald Barboza, a general laborer, made a sudden stop at a red light in Los Angeles. His vehicle was rear-ended from behind by a passenger van operated by Michael Carson. Barboza claimed to his lower back. Barboza (which was originally spelled as “Barboza” in court documents) sued Carson and the owner of the van, Carson’s employer, Global Paratransit Inc. Barboza alleged that Carson was negligent in the operation of the van and that Global Paratransit was vicariously liable for Carson’s actions. Carson initially denied liability, but ultimately admitted to it during discovery., Barboza claimed that he sustained an injury to his lower back, specifically to his lumbar spine. He was not taken to a hospital after the accident, but ultimately underwent a lumbar fusion at the L5-S1 level and a subsequent placement of a spinal cord simulator to manage his pain. The plaintiff’s medical experts opined that Barboza would need three surgeries with spinal cord stimulator in place. Barboza did not seek any general damages, as he was an uninsured driver. Proposition 213, The Personal Responsibility Act of 1996, limited the right of uninsured motorists, drunk drivers, and felons to sue and recover damages from law-abiding citizens. Thus, Barboza could not obtain damages for pain and suffering, even if Carson was found to have caused Barboza’s lumbar injury. Defense counsel argued that MRI studies showed that all of Barboza’s and damages were pre-existing. Counsel disputed the amount of medical costs being sought, and argued for a reduction of costs. The defense’s medical coding and billing expert opined that there was overbilling by the Medilegal retained physicians.
Superior Court of Los Angeles County, Long Beach, CA

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