Case details

Long-term physician: Plaintiff had no issues prior to crash





Result type

Not present

back, cervical, lower back, lumbar head neck, neck, sprain
On July 28, 2008, plaintiff Robert Fassett, 56, a general contractor, was stopped on eastbound Ashlan Avenue, at the intersection with Millbrook Avenue, when his 1969 Chevy pickup truck was rear-ended by a vehicle that was directly behind it, when that stopped vehicle was catapulted forward as a result of being rear-ended by a vehicle was operated by Sarah Correia. Fassett’s vehicle had no headrest and, though it had a lap belt which he was wearing, it did not have a shoulder cross-belt to restrain him. As a result, he sustained to his head, neck, lower back, and right wrist, as well as suffered ringing in the left ear. Fassett sued Correia for motor vehicle negligence. He alleged that Correia was traveling at 35 mph upon collision. Correia conceded that she was not paying attention to traffic and rear-ended a third-party vehicle, which then collided with Fassett’s vehicle., Fassett braced for the collision, but his head hit the metal bar on the top of the pickup’s back window and the back window, itself, as a result of the collision. He subsequently sought medical care with his primary care physician and was diagnosed with a lower lumbar sprain, a sprained wrist and cervical sprains with a displaced bone spur. Fassett, a general contractor and try-wall taper, claimed he has been unable to work as a result of his , starting approximately one month post-accident. The plaintiff’s expert, long-term primary care physician testified that all of Fassett’s were related to the accident and that he would require surgery for his neck to correct the issues. The expert opined that the cost of the future surgery would range between $25,000 and $50,000. The expert also testified that he knew Fassett for years prior to the accident and that he was asymptomatic for degenerative disc disease. Defense counsel contended that Fassett had pre-existing degenerative disc disease. The defense expert who performed an independent medical evaluation testified that Fassett’s symptoms did not match the plaintiff’s expert’s objective findings. The defense’s expert opined that Fassett would not be a surgical candidate and that he should “get off medications and begin an exercise program.” However, plaintiff’s counsel noted that on cross-examination, the defense’s expert admitted that he did not have the past 13 months of medical records, save for one report that he had reviewed, which actually stated that Fassett was a candidate for surgery. In response, defense counsel noted that, in addition to their expert opining that Fassett would not be a candidate for surgery, a worker’s compensation physician, an orthopedist and a neurosurgeon all agreed that Fassett would not be a surgical candidate. Defense counsel noted that the damage to the rear of Fassett’s vehicle was $751.81. Additionally, counsel contended that Fassett’s employer testified that Fassett voluntarily quit his position a month post-accident for personal reasons and that Fassett did not indicate that he was injured.
Superior Court of Fresno County, Fresno, CA

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