Case details

Plaintiff claimed collision caused lower back pain





Result type

Not present

back, cervical, lower back, neck, sprain, strain, thoracic
On March 21, 2009, plaintiff Casey Latour, 23, a machine operator/inspector, was driving in the number 4 westbound lane of Geary Boulevard, near the intersection with Steiner Street in San Francisco. Also in the vehicle were two of Latour’s friends, who were sitting in the front, right, passenger seat and the rear seat. As Latour proceeded into the intersection on a green light, he was broadsided by a vehicle operated by Guo Zheng, who was attempting to make an illegal right-hand turn onto Steiner Street from the number 3 westbound lane of Geary Boulevard. As a result, Latour sustained to the left side of his head, shoulder, hip, knee, neck and back. Latour sued Zheng for motor vehicle negligence. He claimed that Zheng failed to use reasonable care by keeping a proper lookout for other vehicles. Additionally, Latour contended that there were multiple posted signs at the intersection of Geary Boulevard and Steiner Street that specifically prohibit a right-hand turn onto Steiner Street from the number 3 lane of Geary Boulevard. Zheng stipulated to liability at an expedited trial., Immediately after the incident, Latour complained of neck, knee and hip pain. Paramedics placed him in spinal immobilization and transported him to Kaiser-Permanente in San Francisco. Latour sustained cervical, thoracic and lumbosacral strains and sprains with associated hip pain, dizziness, headaches and ringing in his ears. At Kaiser, a physician ordered X-rays of Latour’s lumbosacral spine and prescribed ibuprofen and hydrocodone for pain. The physician also instructed Latour that he would not be able to attend school from March 21, 2009, through March 25, 2009. On April 7, 2009, due to continued lower back pain, neck pain and headaches, Latour sought care form a chiropractor. As a result, the chiropractor performed a comprehensive exam and diagnosed lateral flexion neck injury, a cervical sprain/strain with associated headaches, dizziness and ringing in the ears, and a thoracic sprain/strain. Latour was placed on a conservative course of chiropractic therapy, including specific spinal adjustments and soft tissue manipulation. The chiropractor also instructed and applied corrective exercises to help rehabilitate and prevent long-term disability. The chiropractor employed passive and resistive rehabilitation with the treatment engineered to improve Latour’s range of motion and return him to a pre-injury status. As a result, the chiropractor placed Latour on disability, preventing Latour from returning to work. However, Latour was eventually released from disability in May 2009 and was able to return to work. Latour claimed that because his lower back pain had not resolved and because he continued to have radiating pain into his left hip, he returned to the chiropractor on Nov. 4, 2009, and was referred to have an MRI of his lumbar spine. However, the MRI performed on Dec. 7, 2009, was negative. Latour claimed that as a result, he decided not to return to chiropractic treatment, despite still experiencing occasional lower back pain. Thus, he alleged that he now tolerates occasional lower back pain, but has returned to school and work. Defense counsel argued that two chiropractic treatments in November 2009 and the MRI on Dec. 7, 2009, were not medically indicated, reasonable or necessary.
Superior Court of City and County of San Francisco, San Francisco, CA

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