Case details

Extremely minor impact did not cause injuries alleged: defense





Result type

Not present

back, brain, concussion, head, headaches, tailbone
On April 20, 2011, at approximately 6 p.m., plaintiff Martha Chavez, 41, a housekeeper, was driving in stop-and-go traffic west on Woodside Road in Redwood City when she was rear-ended by a vehicle operated by Isaac Navarette. Chavez claimed to her head, back, tailbone, and vaginal area. Chavez sued Navarette, alleging the defendant was negligent in the operation of his vehicle, causing the severe impact and her personal . Navarette admitted liability for the accident, and the matter proceeded to an expedited jury trial on causation and damages with an agreed-upon cap of $25,000., Chavez claimed she suffered pain in her upper-, mid- and lower-back; tailbone; and vaginal floor. She also claimed she suffered a concussion, causing headaches and an aggravation of her previously implanted ventriculoperitoneal (VP) shunt, which is a device used to relieve pressure from excess cerebrospinal fluid in the brain. Chavez first presented to her chiropractor for treatment of soft-tissue strains and sprains of her back and tailbone two days after the accident. She also underwent vaginal and anal examinations, and was later treated at San Mateo Medical Center, where she obtained various X-rays and MRIs. Chavez claimed she experiences vaginal pain during sex, as well as pain and burning to her vaginal floor. She also claimed the to her head, spine, tailbone and vagina are permanent. She alleged that as a result of her condition, she is an unable to complete the necessary functions of her employment as a housekeeper and that her ability to cook and play with her children, as well as perform several other activities, have been permanently altered. Chavez claimed that since she is the primary breadwinner of her household, she didn’t miss any time from work because she was afraid that she might lose her job. Thus, Chavez sought recovery of $25,000 as compensation for her future chiropractic treatment. (The court disallowed any testimony or evidence pursuant to any of the plaintiff’s past medical expenses.) Defense counsel disputed the nature and extent of Chavez’s alleged and damages. Counsel argued that the impact of the collision was extraordinarily minor, contending that the three minor children in the back of Navarette’s vehicle all slept through the entire accident. Defense counsel argued that Chavez suffered from a well-documented, pre-existing urinary tract infection and that this was the true cause of all of Chavez’s alleged back and vaginal /pain. As for Chavez’s alleged concussion, defense counsel argued that there was no supporting documentation or testimony to support the claim. Regarding Chavez’s alleged VP shunt aggravation and headaches, defense counsel argued that Chavez’s own medical records showed that she complained about the same level of headaches before the accident as she did after the incident and that each and every test showed there was no aggravation of her VP shunt. In addition, counsel argued that all tests were negative in regard to Chavez’s alleged tailbone injury and that this was determined by the plaintiff’s own treating chiropractor. Defense counsel contended that while Chavez’s husband testified that Chavez could not perform her necessary functions as a housekeeper or cook for his family business, Chavez herself testified to the contrary on both issues. Furthermore, counsel contended that Chavez admitted that despite the fact that she testified that she was unable to take time off work due to her for fear of losing her job, she did, in fact, take time off from work to go on vacation with her family following the accident. Thus, defense counsel argued that Chavez suffered no serious , noting that Chavez’s treating chiropractor supported this claim, and that Chavez should be awarded zero damages.
Superior Court of San Mateo County, San Mateo, CA

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