Case details

Motorist claimed rear-end crash caused tinnitus





Result type

Not present

ear neck, head, sensory, speech, tinnitus
On Jan. 22, 2016, claimant Ernest Klein, 65, a retiree, was exiting the San Diego Freeway, also known as Interstate 5, when he stopped on the off-ramp for Camino Capistrano, in San Juan Capistrano. While stopped, his pickup truck was rear-ended by an underinsured motorist. Klein claimed to his neck. The motorist’s insurer tendered its $15,000 policy. Klein then sought further recovery via the supplementary-underinsured-motorist provision of his own insurance policy, which was administered by Allstate Northbrook Indemnity Co., a subsidiary of Allstate Insurance Co. The parties agreed to arbitration., Klein claimed he sustained hyperflexion of his neck, which caused him to suffer from bilateral tinnitus. He was not taken to a hospital after the accident, but he presented to a chiropractor three days later, on Jan. 25, 2016. He underwent a few months of physical therapy. According to Klein’s treating otolaryngology expert, Klein will require a combination devices and tinnitus retraining therapy to reduce the annoyance from the tinnitus, as there is no cure for the condition. Klein currently relies on ear devices, which only masks the continual, persistent whooshing noise he hears in each ear. He claimed that due to the whooshing noise, he now only gets four to five hours of sleep, whereas before the accident, he got six to seven hours of sleep. Klein’s treating audiology expert reported to the claimant’s expert otolaryngologist that Klein’s tinnitus becomes louder when he moves his head backward. The respondent’s expert otolaryngologist opined that Klein’s tinnitus was minor and pre-existing. The expert further opined that Klein’s condition was not caused by the accident, but by fluid in the middle ear that could be remedied by a minor tube insertion and drainage procedures to each ear for reasonable medical costs. However, the arbitrator noted that the respondent’s expert’s testimony was impeached due to contradictory statements in his testimony in comparison to the expert’s website regarding neck trauma causing tinnitus.
Judicate West- Santa Ana, CA

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