Case details

Multiple vehicle rear-ender caused cervical injury: plaintiff





Result type

Not present

neck, niated disc
Plaintiff Samantha Elliott, 19, a cosmetologist, was driving on Hazel Avenue in Fair Oaks when she was rear-ended by a tractor-trailer operated by Robert Lewis. As a result, Elliott’s vehicle was pushed into a car in front of her. She claimed a neck injury for the accident. Elliott sued the driver of the tractor-trailer, Robert Lewis; the owner of the tractor-trailer, Rick Vance Trucking; and owners of the trucking company, Rick and Michelle Vance. Elliott alleged that Lewis was negligent in the operation of the tractor-trailer, and that Mr. Vance, Ms. Vance and Rick Vance Trucking were vicariously liable for Lewis’ actions. Elliott claimed she had come to a stop due to the traffic ahead of her when Lewis failed to control his speed and rear-ended her car at approximately 6 or 7 mph. She claimed that as a result, Lewis’ truck push her vehicle into the car in front of her. The defendants stipulated to negligence., One year after the collision, Elliott was diagnosed with a cervical disc disruption at C5-6 and underwent disc replacement surgery. She claimed the injury was related to the rear-end collision. Elliott claimed that approximately one year after the surgery, she began to experience neck pain and headaches of increasing severity and frequency. She alleged the pain causes her to have difficulty sleeping and, at times, leaves her unable to work. The plaintiff’s orthopedic surgery expert opined that Elliott’s pain and headaches were due to the subsidence of the artificial disc and abnormal surgical curvature caused by the collision. The expert also opined that Elliot’s disc will fail and require replacement within five to 40 years, and that she will ultimately require multiple inpatient surgeries, including a fusion. The plaintiff’s life care planning and economics experts placed Elliott’s future medical expenses at $2.6 million. The economics expert placed Elliott’s future loss of income between $489,000 and $669,000. Thus, Elliott sought recovery of $18 million in damages for her future loss of wages, past and future medical expenses, and future pain and suffering and physical impairment. Defense counsel disputed the cause of Elliott’s alleged damages. The defense’s medical experts testified that Elliott had been diagnosed with scoliosis years before the collision. The experts also testified that Elliott’s had been fully resolved by the disc replacement and that the artificial disc would not require replacement within her lifetime. In addition, the defense’s vocational and medical billing experts opined that the plaintiff’s estimates of Elliott’s future medical expenses and wage loss claims were excessive.
Superior Court of Sacramento County, Sacramento, CA

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