Case details

Passenger injured in crash where drivers each claimed right of way





Result type

Not present

back, neck, pain, right shoulder
On Nov. 13, 2011, plaintiff Sandra Villanueva, 17, a waitress and student, was a front seat passenger in a vehicle operated by Sergio Gomez and traveling north on Highway 99, also known as Golden State Highway, in Yuba City. As their vehicle was turning left from a left turn pocket at the intersection with Sunsweet Boulevard, their vehicle was struck on the front passenger side by the front of a vehicle operated by Karrie Pawek, who was traveling straight on southbound Highway 99 prior to the collision. Sandra claimed to her neck, back, and right shoulder. Sandra sued the driver of her vehicle, Gomez, and the driver of the other vehicle, Pawek. Sandra alleged that Gomez and Pawek were negligent in the operation of their respective vehicles. Gomez claimed he never saw Pawek’s vehicle prior to impact. Pawek contended that she saw the Gomez vehicle only after it turned into her path of travel. Gomez and Pawek each claimed to have a green arrow/light upon entering the intersection, but neither of them had any independent witnesses. However, Sandra and Gomez’s mother, who was a back seat passenger in his vehicle, testified that Gomez had a green arrow as he proceeded into the intersection., Sandra claimed to her neck, back, and right, dominant shoulder. She was subsequently seen at Sutter Urgent Care, Yuba City, on the night of the accident. She then presented to her treating family medicine physician five days later and began an extensive course of referrals for physical therapy, MRIs, an EMG, and injection therapy with various other providers. As a result, Sandra underwent six weeks of physical therapy and three MRIs post-accident. She also underwent three sets of injections by her treating orthopedic surgery and pain management physicians. The first injection consisted of medial branch blockers to her lower back, the second consisted of an epidural steroid injection to her lower back, and the third consisted of an injection to her right shoulder. Thus, Sandra claimed medical special damages totaling $35,800 after Hanif/Howell reductions. She also sought recovery of damages for her pain and suffering. Defense counsel contended that Sandra’s treatment was excessive and that she should only recover for the initial E.R. visit, a portion of her treating physician’s treatment, the physical therapy, and possibly the MRIs.
Superior Court of Sutter County, Sutter, CA

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