Case details

Plaintiff alleged rear-end crash caused cervical herniation





Result type

Not present

cervical, fusion, herniated disc, neck
On Dec. 10, 2009, at approximately 2 p.m., plaintiff Ryan Pettit, 29, an electrician, was stopped for a stop sign on 1st Avenue, at the intersection with Hawthorn Street in San Diego, when he was rear-ended by a vehicle operated by James Rich. Pettit claimed an injury to his neck. Pettit sued Rich and Gail Ballinger, the registered owner of the vehicle. Pettit alleged that Rich was negligent in his operation of the vehicle and that Ballinger was vicariously liable for his actions. Prior to trial, Ballinger was dismissed from the case. Pettit contended that Rich was driving inattentively as he approached the intersection, resulting in the rear-end collision. Rich admitted liability for the accident, and the matter proceeded to a trial on causation and damages., One day after the accident, Pettit presented to his primary care physician with complaints of neck pain. He was ultimately diagnosed with a herniated cervical disc at the C5-6 level. He subsequently treated conservatively with chiropractic care, physical therapy, and epidural injections. Pettit claimed his injury progressed, instead of improved, resulting in him undergoing a cervical fusion on Oct. 17, 2013. Pettit claimed he still deals with residual pain in his neck and discomfort caused by the fusion plate, resulting in difficulty swallowing and gagging. He claimed he is restricted in many activities, but did not make a lost earnings claim. Thus, Pettit sought recovery of $70,457.71 in past medical costs, and $2.5 million in damages for his pain and suffering. Defense counsel argued that Pettit only suffered a minor strain/sprain of his neck and that the injury progressed due to Pettit’s strenuous work as an electrician and physical activities, such as judo and boxing.
Superior Court of San Diego County, San Diego, CA

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