Case details

Pedestrian negligent for walking on roadway edge, defense argued





Result type

Not present

aggravation of pre-existing condition, back, neck
On April 3, 2015, plaintiff Jill Hall, 72, a retiree, was struck by a pickup truck. The incident occurred while Hill was walking her dog on Las Canoas Road, in Santa Barbara. Hall was knocked to the ground, and she claimed to her neck and back. Hall sued Ward. Hall alleged that Ward was negligent in the operation of his vehicle. Defense counsel noted that Las Canoas Road was a two-lane, winding, hilly road that was wide enough for one vehicle in each direction and that Ward’s full-size pickup truck had extended outside mirrors for use with a trailer, which was not in tow at the time of the accident. Counsel also noted that there was no shoulder on the side that Hall was on, so Hall was walking on the roadway edge at the time of the accident, and that Hall had turned her back to the roadway in an attempt to avoid traffic. Defense counsel argued that Hall was negligent for failing to walk on the available shoulder on the opposite side of roadway and that Ward was coming around a curve and never saw Hall before the mirror hit her., Hall was taken by ambulance to an emergency room with complaints of mid-back pain. Hall was involved in four prior motor vehicle accidents and had substantial pre-existing . She was also under the active care and treatment of a pain management physician at the time of the subject accident. She was being treated for pre-existing neck and back pain, and, the day before the subject accident, she picked up a prescription for Norco, a painkiller. Hall claimed the subject accident “lit up” her prior chronic pain condition to her cervical spine, but more so to her lumbar spine. She claimed that as a result, she became a candidate for a future lumbar fusion surgery. Hall’s life care planning and physical medicine expert opined that Hall’s life care plan consisted of $680,000 in future medical costs, with the concession that 30 percent was due to Hall’s pre-existing condition. Hall had past medical expenses totaling approximately $11,000, but she waived her claims for post medical costs. As a result, she sought recovery of future medical costs, and damages for her past and future pain and suffering. Plaintiff’s counsel asked the jury to award Hall anywhere from $150,000 to $1 million in total damages. Defense counsel denied that Hall’s alleged condition was related to the subject accident. Counsel noted that Hall suffered from chronic pain to her lower back and neck for years prior to the subject accident and that Hall underwent multiple types of medical care, including epidural steroid injections, prior to the accident. Counsel also contended that Hall had a facet injection four months before the subject accident, which Hall denied.
Superior Court of Santa Barbara County, Santa Barbara, CA

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