Case details

Plaintiff claimed crash caused need for spinal fusion surgeries





Result type

Not present

back, cervical, disc protrusion, fusion, herniated disc, lumbar, neck, stenosis
On May 3, 2012, at approximately 3:05 p.m., plaintiff Norbert Pickett, an unemployed 43 year old, was driving on northbound Overland Avenue when he stopped for a red light at the intersection with Coventry Place and was rear-ended by a vehicle operated by H. Kenneth Norian. Pickett claimed to his neck and back. Pickett sued Norian, alleging the defendant was negligent in the operation of his vehicle. Norian admitted liability for the accident, and the matter proceeded to trial to assess causation and damages., On the date of the accident, Picket presented to an orthopedic surgeon with complaints of neck and lower back pain. He subsequently underwent X-rays and MRIs, which revealed a ruptured/herniated disc at C5-6 with an extruded disc fragment, a smaller disc herniation at C6-7, and a disc protrusion at L4-5. The testing also revealed evidence of mild to moderate foraminal stenosis at all three disc levels. Picket was prescribed a number of pain medications, and initially treated conservatively with physical therapy, chiropractic care, and epidural steroid injections. However, he claimed that conservative treatment failed to resolve his pain and that his symptoms actually worsened. He claimed that as a result, he opted for surgery. On Dec. 18, 2012, Pickett underwent a cervical decompression and fusion at C5-6 and C6-7. On Oct. 18, 2013, he underwent a lumbar decompression and fusion at L4-5 and L5-S1. Pickett claimed he continues to suffer from debilitating pain in his neck and back on a daily basis, restricting all his activities. He also alleged that as a result, he will continue to require additional care, including orthopedic consultations, physical therapy, pain and anti-inflammatory medications, and other treatments. He also alleged that he was set to begin a new job as a marketing director the week after the accident, but that he was unable to do so due to his . He claimed the position would have paid $5,000 per month. Thus, Picket sought recovery of past medical costs in excess $320,000, as well as recovery for his future medical costs. He also sought recovery for his past and future loss of earnings, and recovery of damages for his past and future pain and suffering. Defense counsel argued that all of Pickett’s were only soft-tissue in nature and that all of the surgeries were due to degenerative conditions not related to the car accident. Counsel also argued that the forces of impact were not consistent to cause the type of alleged by Pickett. In addition, counsel argued that Pickett did not need any future medical care. Thus, defense counsel asked the jury to award Pickett only $14,000 in total damages.
Superior Court of Los Angeles County, Los Angeles, CA

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