Case details

Plaintiff claimed crash caused injury to lumbar spine





Result type

Not present

back, ear, head, herniated disc, lower back
On May 9, 2010, at around 7:40 a.m., plaintiff Jennifer Baker, 31, an emergency room physician’s assistant, was driving on Wilshire Boulevard in Los Angeles when her vehicle was struck by a vehicle operated by Sonia Lee, who pulled from a two way stop on Franklin Street in an attempt to turn in front of Baker. As a result, Baker’s vehicle was sideswiped and rolled over once before landing back on its tires. Baker claimed back from the accident. Baker sued Sonia Lee and the owner of the vehicle, David Lee. Baker alleged that Ms. Lee was negligent in the operation of her vehicle and that Mr. Lee was vicariously liable for Ms. Lee’s actions. The Lees conceded liability one week before trial., Baker suffered a right ear laceration, bruises and contusions all over her body, and sprains and strains. She was subsequently treated at the scene and then taken to a hospital via ambulance. Two weeks later, Baker complained of lower back pain, and an MRI revealed a disc herniation at L5-S1. She then treated with physical therapy and medication for a few months before ultimately undergoing a lumbar disc discectomy and implantation at L5-S1 on March 26, 2013. Baker claimed her lumbar injury affected her ability to undertake daily activities without pain. She alleged that as a result, she had to change her position from an E.R. physician’s assistant, which required standing and lifting, to a more sedentary office position at a doctor’s office. She claimed that due to her need to change her position, she would be paid less over her lifetime. Thus, plaintiff’s counsel asked the jury to award Baker $500,000 to $1 million in total damages. Defense counsel argued that Baker’s injury was not causally related to the accident. Counsel pointed to an MRI taken one or two months after the accident and contended that it showed that the L5-S1 vertebra was a desiccated disc, which is not traumatically induced, but is degenerative. As such, defense counsel argued that the injury pre-existed the subject accident.
Superior Court of Los Angeles County, Los Angeles, CA

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