Case details

Elbow condition not caused by crash, defense argued





Result type

Not present

elbow, lateral epicondylitis, neck, whiplash
On March 29, 2018, plaintiff Hilda Salvado, 43, a caretaking business owner and provider, was driving on West El Norte Parkway, in Escondido. As she was about to come to a stop at the traffic signal located at the intersection with Centre City Parkway, her vehicle was rear-ended at a low-speed by a vehicle operated by Pedro Marin. Salvado claimed to her neck, elbows and a shoulder. Salvado sued Marin, alleging that Marin was negligent in the operation of his vehicle. Marin accepted liability for the accident., Salvado claimed she suffered whiplash to her neck, as well as pain in a shoulder and both elbows as a result of the accident. Following the collision, Salvado did not require medical transport, so neither the police nor an ambulance were called to the scene. Instead, she drove home and did not seek medical treatment that day. However, she presented to a Kaiser facility the next day. Salvado then began three months of chiropractic care and physical therapy. Ultimately, her neck and shoulder issues resolved, but she claimed that her left, dominant elbow developed lateral epicondylitis, also known as tennis elbow, a painful condition that occurs when the forearm muscles become damaged from overuse. She had four consultations with an orthopedic surgeon. On the third visit, Salvado underwent a platelet rich plasma injection to her left elbow. Salvado claimed that she would eventually require surgery to repair the tendon in her left elbow. Salvado’s treating orthopedist testified that Salvado could "get the surgery, or live [with her alleged issues]". Salvado sought recovery of $9,733 for a portion of her past medical costs, $25,000 in future medical costs, $45,240 for past pain and suffering, and unspecified damages for future pain and suffering. Defense counsel denied that Salvado’s elbow condition was caused by the accident. Counsel noted there was only minor damage to Salvado’s vehicle, with barely any visible damage, and that, based on the testimony of the defense’s biomechanical expert, the severity of the collision had a delta-v of less than 5. The defense’s biomechanical expert was limited in his testimony to kinematic forces involved in a motor vehicle accident similar to the one in the subject accident and to the effect of such forces on the human body. He opined that the force on Salvado’s elbows in the accident would have been approximately 50 pounds, which was equivalent to the impact of using one’s own body weight to push off of a chair or do a pull up. Defense counsel contended that a chiropractor that Salvado saw had notes that stated that Salvado’s treating orthopedist did not believe Salvado was a candidate for surgery. Defense counsel also contended that while numerous character witnesses testified that Salvado’s activities were less than before, such as hiking, or were modified, such as boot-camp/high-intensity workouts, they also testified that Salvado was still able to participate in those activities. Defense counsel further contended that although Salvado co-owned a caretaking business with her boyfriend and sometimes filled in for the caretakers herself, Salvado would still be able to manage the business, instead of performing caretaking services, and earn the same money. In addition, defense counsel contended that Salvado was a caretaker for most of her adult life and that the physically demanding career could have caused the left elbow injury, as opposed to being caused by the accident. Defense counsel asserted that since the alleged elbow condition was not likely caused by the accident, Salvado should only be awarded for her reasonable and necessary treatment of those actually caused by the accident.
Superior Court of San Diego County, San Diego, CA

Recommended Experts


Get a FREE consultation for your case