Case details

Multiple vehicle rear-ender caused herniations: plaintiff





Result type

Not present

chest, herniated disc, neck, pain, rib
At approximately 8:45 a.m. on Sept. 14, 2010, plaintiff Fady El Kassis, 49, a handyman, was driving west on State Route 76 in Oceanside when his vehicle was involved in a multiple-vehicle rear-end collision involving vehicles operated by Rachel Woodward and Dreama Johnston. There was no police report or eyewitnesses for the subject accident. Kassis claimed primarily to his neck and back from the accident. Kassis sued Woodward and Johnston. He alleged the defendants were negligent in the operation of their respective vehicles. He contended that just before the collision, he approached a construction truck crossing in front of his lane on westbound SR 76, causing him to stop his vehicle. Kassis claimed that he then felt two impacts to the rear of his vehicle, with the second impact pushing him into another vehicle. He alleged that Woodward, who was directly behind him, caused the first impact and that the second impact was caused by Johnston rear-ending Woodward. Woodward contended that Kassis came to an abrupt stop on the freeway, causing her to brake immediately. She claimed that she did not initially strike the plaintiff’s vehicle, but that she was then rear-ended by Johnston, which caused her to make contact with the rear of Kassis’ vehicle. Woodward also denied seeing a construction truck cross in front of Kassis and claimed that both Kassis and Johnston caused the accident. Johnston contended that she also saw Kassis come to an abrupt stop two vehicles ahead of her, which caused Woodward to rear-end the plaintiff’s vehicle. She claimed that she then struck Woodward, causing Woodward’s vehicle to strike the plaintiff’s vehicle again., On the day of the accident, Kassis went to his family doctor claiming neck, back, chest and left rib pain. He underwent an MRI of his neck, which he claimed revealed cervical disc herniations at C5-6 and C6-7. Kassis subsequently treated with chiropractic care for six months. Kassis claimed he has not worked as a handyman since the accident due to residual neck and lower back pain. He also claimed that he can’t drive long distances or take trips with his family due to his condition. As a result, the plaintiff’s expert orthopedic surgeon testified that Kassis will eventually require an anterior cervical decompression and fusion surgery. Thus, Kassis claimed $2,000 in past medical costs, and asked the jury to award damages including $100,000 for future medical costs, $50,000 for past pain and suffering, and $300,000 to $450,000 for future pain and suffering. Defense counsel contended that the damage to the plaintiff’s truck was minimal. Counsel also contended that Kassis did not sustain a serious injury or herniations, only minor soft-tissue , and that the MRI was normal for a man his age. Thus, defense counsel agreed to past medical costs of $2,000, but argued that Kassis’ past pain and suffering was worth only $2,000 and that the plaintiff was owed zero future damages.
Superior Court of San Diego County, Vista, CA

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