Case details

Passenger diagnosed with back pain prior to crash: defense





Result type

Not present

dental, fractured teeth
On Nov. 26 2007, plaintiff Jose Padilla, a plumber in his 40s, was in the front, right passenger seat of a vehicle stopped at a traffic light at the intersection of Chrisman Road and 11th Street in Tracy. As he was leaning out of the window, his vehicle was struck from behind by a vehicle allegedly traveling at a speed of 50 mph and operated by Edward Arnaudo. Padilla sued Arnaudo, alleging the defendant was negligent in the operation of his vehicle. Arnaudo admitted liability, but contested the alleged speed of impact. However, Arnaudo was in his late 70s at the time of the accident and died approximately six months before the trial. As a result, his estate was substituted in, under Probate code § 550, et seq., Padilla was taken by ambulance to Tracy Memorial Hospital, where he was treated and released from the emergency room. He claimed to his neck and upper back, as well as approximately 20 fractured crowns and teeth. One year before the accident, Padilla was in a severe motorcycle accident wherein he sustained fractures to his pelvis, sacrum and multiple ribs. He claimed he completely recovered from that accident, only to have the symptoms of severe pelvic pain, severe lower back pain and erectile dysfunction return following the accident with Arnaudo in 2007. Thus, Padilla claimed medical expenses of approximately $25,000. Padilla also claimed he lost $17,500 in startup costs for a new plumbing business. Defense counsel contested the nature and extent of the alleged. Counsel argued that only four or five of Padilla’s teeth had chipped in the accident with Arnaudo and that Padilla only had about $2,500 in medical costs attributable to the accident. Counsel also argued Padilla only suffered a soft-tissue injury, which should have resolved within a few months of the accident. In addition, defense counsel argued that Padilla’s erectile dysfunction and lower back and pelvic pain were only consistent with the sustained in the prior accident, and were not caused or aggravated by the subject incident with Arnaudo. Defense counsel noted that three months before the subject accident, a pelvic surgeon diagnosed Padilla with chronic lower back pain, pelvic pain and erectile dysfunction, and that five days before the subject accident, Padilla had seen his physician to request that his disability be extended an additional six months. In response, Padilla, at trial, denied having any symptoms from the prior accident when the 2007 rear-end collision occurred, and claimed he only asked for extended disability because he needed continued medical insurance coverage. However, defense counsel noted that Padilla, at his deposition, denied ever asking to have his disability extended from the first accident and denied ever seeing his physician five days before the subject accident.
Superior Court of San Joaquin County, San Joaquin, CA

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