Case details

Motorist claimed sideswipe caused ongoing back pain





Result type

Not present

back, fusion, herniated disc, lumbar
On June 4, 2016, plaintiff Roberto Castaneda, 35, a housekeeper at a hotel and a shift lead at a Jack in the Box restaurant, was driving on Santiago Canyon Road, in Orange County, when his vehicle was sideswiped by a vehicle operated by Chloe Perez. Castaneda claimed to his lower back.    Castaneda sued Chloe Perez and the owner of Ms. Perez’s vehicle, Juan Perez. Castaneda alleged that Ms. Perez was negligent in the operation of her vehicle and that Mr. Perez was vicariously liable for Ms. Perez’s actions. Ms. Perez admitted liability, and Mr. Perez was dismissed from the case at trial. Thus, the trial continued against Ms. Perez on the issue of Castaneda’s alleged and damages., Castaneda claimed he sustained a herniated lumbar disc at the L5-S1 level. He presented to a chiropractor three days after the accident. While Castaneda was being treated by the chiropractor, he underwent MRIs, which allegedly showed the lumbosacral herniation. As a result, he was sent to a pain management physician and to some neurosurgeons. Castaneda eventually underwent a lumbar fusion at the L5-S1 level, but it failed. He ultimately had a spinal cord stimulator implanted, which was implanted around the time of trial. Castaneda continued to work after the accident, so he waived any alleged loss of earnings. However, he  claimed that he will need future medical care in the form of a replacement of the stimulator’s battery generator and leads every seven to 10 years. The plaintiff’s expert neurosurgeon opined that all of Castaneda’s medical bills were reasonable. The expert also laid out Castaneda’s future medical treatment timeline. Castaneda sought recovery for his past and future medical costs, and past and future pain and suffering. Defense counsel contended that there were no findings on the MRI that warranted pain management or surgery. The defense’s billing expert reduced Castaneda’s medical bills to 6 or 7 percent of the billed amount, which the expert opined were all unreasonable. The defense’s spinal surgery expert opined that only three to four weeks of treatment was reasonable.
Superior Court of Orange County, Westminster, CA

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