Case details

Plaintiff claimed crash caused injuries to spine and hips





Result type

Not present

annular tear, back, hips, neck
On Sept. 18, 2011, plaintiff Laura Barner, 34, a limousine driver, was operating a Lincoln town car, transporting a passenger to San Francisco International Airport for a flight to China, as part of her job duties with ABC Chauffeured Limousine. Barner was traveling on U.S. Route 101 in San Mateo, near the Hillsdale exit, when she slowed her vehicle to approximately 25 mph and was rear-ended by a vehicle operated by David Billeci, who was traveling at 60 to 65 mph. Both vehicles were declared a total loss with property damages of $20,000 for each. After the accident, another limousine took the passenger in Barner’s vehicle to the airport so that she could make her flight. No one reported at the scene, including the passenger. However, Barner later claimed to her neck, back and hips. Barner sued Billeci, alleging the defendant was negligent in the operation of his vehicle. Billeci conceded liability., Three days after the accident, Barner reported to an industrial clinic. She claimed she sustained multiple soft-tissue to her neck, and mid- and lower back. She also claimed she suffered annular tears in her lumbar and cervical spine, and labral tears to both hips. Barner treated through her workers’ compensation insurance and obtained chiropractic care, physical therapy, acupuncture therapy, and physical medicine and rehabilitation therapy. She also received treatment outside of workers’ compensation, which included additional physical therapy and chiropractic care. In addition, Barner treated her back with pain management and she underwent arthroscopic repair surgery on her left hip in September 2014. Barner claimed that she still has residual issues with bending, walking and lifting weights. She alleged she continues to treat with pain management therapy for residual complaints of pain to her mid-back, lower back, and hip. She also alleged that she will undergo surgery on her right hip in the future. Barner contended that her prevented her from being able to continue working as a chauffeur and that she had to take an extended leave from work. She claimed that although she eventually returned to work in a modified capacity, she had to seek out alternative employment that would allow her to work within her physical limitations. According to defense counsel, Barner blackboarded damages in excess of $500,000, including her life care plan. Additionally defense counsel claimed that Barner’s counsel asked the jury to award in excess of $430,000 for Barner’s past and future medical expenses, and $150,000 in damages for Barner’s future pain and suffering. Defense counsel contended that Barner sustained whiplash-type symptoms from the collision, but that any findings on an X-ray or MRI, including the annular tears in Barner’s thoracic and lumbar spine, and the bilateral labral tears, were age-related and not due to the accident. Counsel contended that Barner may have sustained some soft-tissue whiplash from the incident, but that any treatment after three months was unrelated to the alleged from the collision.
Superior Court of San Mateo County, San Mateo, CA

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