Case details

Multiple vehicle impact caused lumbar injuries, plaintiff alleged





Result type

Not present

annular tear, back, disc protrusion, herniated disc, lower back, lumbar, neck, neurological, radicular pain, radiculitis
On Oct. 24, 2011, at approximately 8 a.m., plaintiff Jeffrey Snegg, 46, an independent sales representative for Next Level Apparel, was stopped behind another vehicle on eastbound Westminster Avenue, at the intersection with Kitts Road in Seal Beach, when he was rear-ended at a high rate of speed by a van operated by Victor De La Rosa. The impact subsequently pushed Snegg’s vehicle into the lead vehicle and allegedly caused primarily to Snegg’s lower back. Snegg sued De La Rosa; the owner of De La Rosa’s van, Gary Berry; and De La Rosa’s employer, Thomas Rose Electric Inc. Snegg alleged that De La Rosa was negligent in the operation of the van and that Berry was vicariously liable for De La Rosa’s actions. He also alleged that Thomas Rose Electric was liable for De La Rosa’s actions since he was in the course and scope of his employment at the time of the accident. The defendants admitted liability, and the matter proceeded to a trial on causation and damages., Snegg was transported by ambulance to an emergency room with complaints of neck and back pain. After a series of tests, he was diagnosed with cervical strains and instructed to seek follow-up care. Snegg subsequently went to Neck & Back Medical Center, in Laguna Hills, with complaints of bilateral shoulder stiffness, and left wrist and thumb numbness and tingling, as well as ongoing neck and back pain. He also claimed his were causing him to have restrictions in movement and difficulty sleeping. Snegg later complained of intermittent radiating pain and was prescribed a course of physical therapy. Despite several months of treatment, he complained of continuing lower back pain and underwent an MRI, which revealed a 2.5-millimeter broad-based disc herniation and a superimposed 6-millimeter left lateral disc protrusion with an annular tear at L4-5, causing left and right neural foraminal narrowing and contact of the left L4 nerve root. The MRI also revealed a 3.5-millimeter broad-based disc herniation at L5-S1, causing bilateral neural foraminal narrowing. Snegg followed up with a neurological consultation and was diagnosed with chronic lower back pain, a herniated nucleus pulposus (a slipped disc) of the lumbar spine with an annular tear at L4-5 and L5-S1. As a result, he continued physical therapy for several months and underwent epidural injections on Sept. 18, 2012, and again on Oct. 2, 2012. Snegg claimed only temporary relief from the injections and sought further consultations. On Dec. 9, 2013, he ultimately underwent a left L4 hemilaminectomy, medial facetectomy, foraminotomy and disc annuloplasty; a left L5 hemilaminectomy, medial facetectomy, foraminotomy and microdiscectomy; an annular repair at L5-S1; and an application of a fat graft to the laminectomy defect at L4-5 and L5-S1 levels. The plaintiff’s treating surgeon opined that Snegg will require follow-up care in the form of neurosurgical consultations, imaging studies, consultations with a pain management specialist, and possible injections for any severe flare-ups. The surgeon further opined that a surgical stabilization at L5-S1 could also be a possibility for Snegg. Snegg claimed he is now restricted in physical activities, such as surfing, mountain biking, exercise, and playing soccer with his children. Thus, he sought recovery of $4 million in total damages when accounting for the $184,249.25 in past medical costs, and unspecified amounts for his future medical costs and pain and suffering. Defense counsel disputed the nature and extent of Snegg’s alleged and damages. Counsel also disputed the necessity of Snegg’s treatment, need for surgery, and reasonableness of said charges. In addition, defense counsel disputed the extent to which Snegg was limited from physical activity.
Superior Court of Orange County, Santa Ana, CA

Recommended Experts


Get a FREE consultation for your case