Case details

Multiple-vehicle crash caused spinal injuries, plaintiffs alleged




Mediated Settlement

Result type

Not present

back, bulging disc, closed head injury, head, lumbar, neck, spine, thoracic
On April 18, 2011, plaintiff Mark McAdams, 47, a California Highway Patrolman, parked his patrol vehicle on the right shoulder of California State Route 99, in Madera. He was responding to the disabled vehicle of plaintiff Wendy Kennedy, 35, and her mother, plaintiff Lena Kennedy. While McAdams was his car, he was rear-ended by a dump truck operated by Noel Felipe. Felipe was previously traveling at 55 mph on southbound Route 99 when a vehicle in front of him braked, causing Felipe to shift onto the shoulder in an effort to avoid the vehicle. However, he struck the rear of McAdams’ stopped patrol car, pushing it into the Kennedy vehicle. McAdams claimed to his head and spine, and the Kennedys both claimed neck and back . McAdams, Wendy Kennedy and Lena Kennedy sued Felipe; his employer, Cen Cal Plastering Inc.; and the owner of the dump truck, Mid Valley Plastering Inc. McAdams and the Kennedys alleged that Felipe was negligent in the operation of his vehicle and that Cen Cal Plastering and Mid Valley Plastering were liable for Felipe’s actions. Specifically, McAdams claimed that Felipe failed to keep a safe distance between his dump truck and the truck in front of him. Defense counsel argued that Felipe could not have anticipated that there would be vehicles parked on the highway’s shoulder. However, McAdams’ counsel countered that Felipe would not have needed to enter the shoulder if he had been driving safely., McAdams was taken by ambulance to Community Regional Medical Center, in Fresno, where he received approximately 10 staples to close a laceration to the back of his head. He was also diagnosed with a closed head injury. McAdams was released later that day, but after complaining of continued neck and back pain, he underwent MRIs, which revealed bulges of his T3-4, T7-8 and L3-4 intervertebral discs. He subsequently underwent one year of physical therapy and chiropractic care. Although it was recommended that McAdams receive epidural injections, he declined due to his fear of needles. McAdams claimed that due to his , he was kept out of work intermittently until he ultimately retired 18 months after the accident, when he was found unfit for duty by the California Highway Patrol. McAdams claimed he continues to experience chronic pain in his back and is unable to lift objects over 25 pounds. He also claimed that due to the head trauma, he suffers cognitive deficits, such as memory loss, mood swings and anxiety. McAdams was also diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder, requiring ongoing psychological counseling. Thus, McAdams sought recovery of $209,588 in past lost wages, $938,000 in future lost wages, and an unspecified amount of general damages for his past and future pain and suffering. His wife, Allison McAdams, sought a derivative claim for her loss of consortium. Wendy and Lena Kennedy both claimed neck and back , with Wendy Kennedy’s allegedly being more severe. Wendy Kennedy did not receive surgical care for her , but she claimed future spinal injections were recommended. According to defense counsel, Wendy Kennedy also claimed she would eventually need surgical intervention on her cervical spine. Defense counsel disputed the nature and extent of the alleged by Mr. McAdams and the Kennedys.
Superior Court of San Joaquin County, San Joaquin, CA

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