Case details

Neck injuries preclude doc from performing surgery, he claimed





Result type

Not present

herniated disc, neck
On June 18, 2009, at about 6:15 p.m., plaintiff Dr. Michael Kane, 47, a plastic surgeon based in New York City, was on a business trip, riding in a taxi on Vallejo Avenue in San Francisco. At the same time, Daniel Green, who was driving a 30,000-pound truck for employer Shimmick Construction Co. Inc., was driving on Van Ness Street. As the taxi entered the intersection of Vallejo Avenue and Van Ness Street, it was struck by Green, who had run a red light. As a result, the front end of the taxi was totaled and Kane claimed a neck injury. Kane sued Green and Shimmick Construction, as owner of the truck and as Green’s employer. Kane alleged that Green was negligent in the operation of his truck and that Shimmick Construction was vicariously liable for Green’s actions. Green conceded that he was negligent, but denied that he was speeding., Kane was taken by ambulance to San Francisco General Hospital, where he was treated there by three doctors. He claimed a cervical herniation at the C4-5 level and a cervical disc degeneration at C6-7. Kane then went back to New York and was seen by his primary care physician, a neurologist, an orthopedic surgeon, a pain management specialist, and a physiatrist. Kane alleged that before the accident, he would have been able to practice surgery for the next 20 years. However, he claimed he could no longer perform surgery as a result of his . The plaintiff’s neurology expert opined that the accident caused the neck injury and that Kane can no longer perform plastic surgery. As a result, the plaintiff’s forensic accounting expert opined that Kane will lose $20 million dollars of future income. Defense counsel argued that the neck were pre-existing, but previously asymptomatic, and that the condition wasn’t “lit up” by the accident. The defense’s orthopedic surgery expert opined that Kane’s were pre-existing and caused by a lifetime of extreme weightlifting; surfing all over the world; and working as a surgeon for more than 20 years, due to standing in a still position over a patient for the duration of the surgery. The defense’s neurology expert testified that the accident did not cause the neck injury and that it had nothing to do with the inability to perform surgery. Defense counsel contended that even if Kane could not perform surgery, Kane continues to earn a living by giving Botox injections and via speaking engagements internationally to pharmaceutical companies. Thus, the defense’s economics expert testified that Kane lost no money as a result of the accident. According to defense counsel, Kane should only be awarded $4,331.88 for the cost of the ambulance and the hospital on the date of the accident, and about twice that for pain and suffering.
Superior Court of San Francisco County, San Francisco, CA

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