Case details

Driver: Rear-ender caused spinal injuries and headaches





Result type

Not present

back, head, headaches, neck
On March 20, 2008, plaintiff Nancy Larson, 51, a teacher, was driving a rental car eastbound on State Route 91 Freeway near Van Buren. At approximately 3 p.m., she was rear-ended by a Jeep operated by Griselda De La Riva. Larson claimed to her neck and back. Larson sued Mrs. De La Riva and her husband, Manuel Abelardo De La Riva, the owner of the Jeep. She alleged that Mrs. De La Riva was negligent in the operation of her vehicle and that her husband was vicariously liable for her actions. Prior to trial, Mr. De La Riva was dismissed from the case for a waiver of costs, since Mrs. De La Riva was an insured under their policy. Larson claimed that traffic came to a quick stop on eastbound 91 Freeway, causing her to stop about a car length from the car ahead of her. She claimed that as she was stopped, she glanced in the rearview mirror just in time to see Mrs. De La Riva rear-end her vehicle. Mrs. De La Riva admitted liability, and the matter proceeded to an expedited trial on causation and damages., Larson was taken from the scene of the accident and brought to an emergency room in Anaheim, where she discharged later that day. She treated with Kaiser after returning home to Hawaii one week after the accident. Larson claimed strains of her neck and back, as well as headaches, caused from the accident. She underwent two courses of physical therapy. Larson claimed that she healed from her with no residual effects. Although, she claimed she missed 11 days of work, resulting in a loss of earnings in the amount of $1,320. She also claimed $6,900 in damages for past medical costs, and asked the jury to award $15,000 to $17,000 in damages for her pain and suffering. Defense counsel disputed the nature and extent of Larson’s . The defense’s expert neurologist testified that Larson may have sustained strains from the accident, but that they should have resolved in three to four months. The expert further testified that Larson’s long-standing history of headaches and back pain (as documented in Kaiser records from 1996 to 2007) were back to a baseline level within a few months. Thus, defense counsel argued that if the jury was to award anything, it should award $2,200 in damages for past medical costs, $720 in damages for lost earnings, and $1,900 in damages for pain and suffering.
Superior Court of Riverside County, Riverside, CA

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