Case details

Motorcycle crash caused multiple injuries, plaintiff alleged





Result type

Not present

back, bulging disc, knee, lumbar, nerve, neurological, patella, patellar
On July 13, 2014, plaintiff Hector Fuentes, 38, a project supervisor, was motorcycling on Interstate 10, also known as the San Bernardino Freeway, in Los Angeles. Fuentes’ motorcycle was rear-ended by Clabe Hartley, who had lost control of his motorcycle. Fuentes claimed to his back, left knee, and right hand and elbow. Fuentes sued Hartley. Fuentes alleged that Hartley was negligent in the operation of his motorcycle. Four years after the accident, Hartley conceded liability., After the accident, Fuentes was immediately taken to a hospital, where he stayed overnight. Fuentes claimed he sustained a mild bulging lumbar disc to his lower back, a fractured pinky finger, ulnar nerve damage to the right elbow and focal dystonia to the right hand. He was also diagnosed with pre-existing Osgood-Schlatter disease — an inflammation of the area just below the knee where the patellar tendon attaches to the tibia — with fragmentation, ossification, cystic change and edema in his left knee. In addition, plaintiff’s counsel noted that an MRI reading showed sequela of a partial tear to the patellar tendon of the left knee. After being discharged from the hospital, Fuentes sought additional care, including less than two months of physical therapy for his lower back. He then underwent physical therapy for his left knee starting nine months after the accident and then received two steroid injections to his left knee pain more than 15 months after the accident. Fuentes claimed that he continues to suffer occasional lower back pain, occasional left knee pain and looseness of the kneecap. He also claimed that he continues to suffer occasional right hand weakness and occasional right hand pain with mild tremors. Fuentes sought recovery of past medical costs, and damages for his past and future pain and suffering. Defense counsel contested the extent of Fuentes’ . After examining Fuentes, the defense’s orthopedic expert opined that Fuentes’ lower back were pre-existing due to degenerative disc disease. The expert also opined that the knee injury could not have occurred in the motorcycle crash because Fuentes failed to complain of knee pain for eight months. The expert further opined that if Fuentes has a right hand tremor, it would not be related to the accident and that Fuentes was only mildly symptomatic. In addition, the orthopedic surgeon opined that no further treatment is needed. In response, plaintiff’s counsel noted that the plaintiff’s nursing expert attended and recorded the defense expert’s exam of Fuentes and that the nursing expert’s report, which was provided to the defense, was critical of the defense’s expert’s physical exam of 13 minutes and that expert’s conclusions. The plaintiff’s nursing expert was scheduled to testify after the defense’s expert orthopedic surgeon, but defense counsel elected not to call their expert and, instead, relied on Fuentes’ pre-existing conditions; Fuentes’ minimization of his pain levels, which were frequently a one out of 10; and Fuentes’ delayed reports of symptoms. However, plaintiff’s counsel further responded that Fuentes’ treating acupuncturist testified that Fuentes complained of pain to his left knee within one week of the subject accident.
Superior Court of Los Angeles County, Long Beach, CA

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