Case details

Low speed crash did not cause or aggravate back injury: defense





Result type

Not present

aggravation of pre-existing condition, back
On April 12, 2015, plaintiff Frank Vizcarra, 62, a business owner, was driving on Interstate 5, also known as the San Diego Freeway, between the Manchester Avenue and Birmingham Drive exits, in the Cardiff-by-the-Sea area of Encinitas, when his vehicle was struck a vehicle operated by Christina Whalen. Vizcarra claimed a lower back injury. Vizcarra sued Whalen, alleging that Whalen was negligent in the operation of her vehicle. Specifically, Vizcarra claimed that she was rear-ended by Whalen’s vehicle. Whalen claimed Vizcarra was to blame for the crash by cutting off her vehicle in stop-and-go traffic., Vizcarra alleged an aggravation of long-term lower back as a result of the collision. He presented to his primary care physician the following week and he claimed that although he had some back pain in the past, the frequency, intensity and duration of the pain was much worse post-crash. Vizcarra treated conservatively with physical therapy and home exercises, but eventually required more aggressive injections and ablation procedures, as his symptoms did not resolve. Vizcarra, a former mid-fielder for the professional American Soccer League, claimed his activities of daily living and his ability to play sports — like soccer and golf — were greatly impacted by his . He alleged he would require a lifetime of future back injections, radiofrequency ablations and a possible back surgery. Immediately prior to jury selection, Vizcarra elected to pursue a general damages claim and only sought recovery for his past and future pain, suffering, anxiety and emotional distress as a result of the accident. Defense counsel argued that the low speed collision, with a delta-v of 7 mph, did not cause or aggravate Vizcarra’s long-standing back pain and that Vizcarra would not require additional care. Counsel also noted the undisputed radiology imaging that showed no changes after the accident when compared to images before the accident. Defense counsel further argued that Vizcarra had a history of chronic back problems before the collision and had been able to continue his normal life activities after the accident.
Superior Court of San Diego County, Vista, CA

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