Case details

Lurching truck caused fall onto wooden pallets, plaintiff claimed





Result type

Not present

back, bulging disc, disc protrusion, lower back, lumbar, neurological, radicular pain, radiculitis
On Oct. 29, 2010, at approximately 11:25 a.m., plaintiff Jose Guzman-Ramirez, 65, was working as a maintenance man for Delta Fresh Fruit Inc., which was doing business as Amapola Market, when a delivery truck owned and operated by Delta Fresh Fruit arrived to make a delivery. The truck pulled past Guzman-Ramirez, who was in an area of the parking lot cutting metal with a saw set up on some wooden pallets. While in the process of jockeying the truck to pull into the delivery bay, the truck lurched forward, striking Guzman-Ramirez in the lower back and throwing him over the top of the pallets he was using to steady the metal he was cutting. Having been hit by the truck, with the spinning metal saw still in his hand, Guzman-Ramirez spun and fell over the top of the pallets, hitting the pavement on his lower back, buttocks, and extended right arm. Thus, he claimed to his lower back and right shoulder. Guzman-Ramirez sued Delta Fresh Fruit Inc. Guzman-Ramirez alleged that since he was in plain sight of the delivery truck driver as the truck pulled into the delivery bay, the driver was negligent in the operation of his vehicle and that Delta Fresh Fruit was liable for the driver’s actions. The driver involved could not be located for deposition. Delta Fresh Fruit admitted liability for the accident., As a result of the impact, Guzman-Ramirez claimed he immediately felt intense pain in his lower back, buttocks, and right shoulder. Delta Fresh Fruit subsequently sent Guzman-Ramirez for medical treatment at its provider, where Guzman-Ramirez first treated on Nov. 1, 2010. Upon seeking medical treatment, it was discovered that plaintiff suffered a 9-millimeter lumbar disc extrusion, a 6-millimeter posterior disc bulge at the L4-5 level, and a 4-millimeter disc protrusion at the L5-S1 level, along with a bilateral pars defect at the L5 level. He also suffered a rotator cuff tear of his right shoulder. Guzman-Ramirez’s lower back required two separate lumbar hemilaminectomies and discectomies, and surgery was recommended for his right shoulder. Due to the severity of the , Guzman-Ramirez was unable to return to work. He claimed that he suffers constant lower back pain that radiates into his legs. He further claimed that his residual pain has resulted in very limited mobility. Thus, Guzman-Ramirez sought $212,525.97 in past medical costs and $1.44 million in damages for his pain and suffering. Defense counsel contested the nature, extent, and causation of Guzman-Ramirez’s alleged damages. Counsel contended that Guzman-Ramirez’s medical records showed that he had complained of, and treated for, lower back pain for as long as 30 years before the accident. Thus, defense counsel argued that Guzman-Ramirez’s lower back were due to prior and degenerative processes unrelated to the collision.
Superior Court of Los Angeles County, Los Angeles, CA

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