Case details

Plaintiff claimed crash caused spinal injuries with radiating pain





Result type

Not present

back, cervical, contusions of cervical spine, disc protrusion, lumbar, neck, nerve damage, neurological, neuropathy, radiculopathy, shoulder, strains
On June 27, 2014, at approximately 3:50 a.m., plaintiff Lisa Roper, 31, a fitness instructor, was driving a 2009 Mazda 6 on the eastbound side of Antelope Road, toward its intersection with Auburn Boulevard, in Sacramento. As she entered the intersection, she struck a Toyota Sienna taxi minivan operated by Gurlal Singh Sra, who was traveling south on Auburn Boulevard. Roper claimed to her back and neck. Roper sued Sra; Sra’s employer, AAA Green Cab; and the owners of the taxi service, Kuldip Kaur Bains and Arvinder Bains. Roper alleged that Sra was negligent in the operation of the taxi minivan while acting within the scope of his employment and that AAA Green Cab Corp. and its owners were vicariously liable for Sra’s actions. Roper claimed that she entered the intersection on a green traffic light and that Sra ran a red light. Thus, she claimed that Sra failed to yield the right of way, causing the collision. Sra initially told responding police officers that Roper ran a red light and that his light was green. However, according to red-light-camera footage obtained from the accident scene, Sra ran a red traffic light and caused the crash. One month before trial, the defendants conceded liability, and the matter proceeded to trial on the issue of damages., Roper claimed that she sustained cervical and lumbosacral disc protrusions at the C5-6, C6-7 and L5-S1 levels. She was subsequently placed in an ambulance, which transported her to the Emergency Department at Kaiser Permanente Roseville Medical Center, in Roseville, where she complained of pain that stemmed from her head, neck and shoulders, and radiated throughout her upper and lower extremities. Roper underwent minor treatment and X-rays of her neck, but the image results were negative for any acute injury. As a result, she was diagnosed with strains and contusions of her cervical spine, and was released from the hospital with a prescription for pain medication. Days after the collision, Roper presented to her primary care physician’s office and was recommended a course of chiropractic treatment. However, after one month of treatment, Roper reported that the treatments were unsuccessful and that she had increased pain levels in her back with tingling, numbness and pins-and-needles sensations that radiated down her lower extremities. As a result, she sought treatment from a physical therapist, but ceased treatment after a few months, claiming the treatments were also ineffective. An MRI of Roper’s cervical spine taken three months after the collision did not reveal any neurological , but did show slight disc protrusions to the discs in her cervical spine at the C5-6 and C6-7 levels, with no associated spinal cord compression at those levels. An October 2014 MRI of her lower back also revealed a slight disc protrusion at the L5-S1 level. Based on the MRI findings, Roper underwent a caudal epidural steroid injection to her neck on Nov. 7, 2014. However, she reported that the injection only provided 50-percent relief from pain. As a result, she continued to take muscle relaxers and pain medications, as prescribed by her primary care doctor. In August 2015, Roper consulted with an orthopedic spine surgeon, who recommended a course of medial branch block injections at the L3, L4 and L5 levels. In December 2015, Roper underwent radiofrequency ablations at the same levels in her lumbar spine. Roper claimed that as a result of the crash, she sustained facet of her back and neck with radiculopathy. She claimed that as a result, she developed a chronic pain condition that causes her to experience neuropathic pain that radiates from her back down both of her legs. Roper alleged that the treatments she received were ineffective and failed to provide any permanent pain relief related to her neuropathic condition. Thus, she contended that she will require cervical and lumbar radiofrequency ablation treatments in the future. The plaintiff’s expert life care planner opined that as a result of the collision, Roper incurred past medical expenses that totaled approximately $111,813. A report prepared by the plaintiff’s expert life care planner stated that Roper would require ongoing treatments for the rest of her life. She further opined that Roper would require eight physician’s visits, 12 physical therapy appointments, 12 chiropractic visits, two lumbar radiofrequency ablation procedures per year, two cervical radiofrequency ablation procedures per year, and medication to manage the symptoms of Roper’s . According to the life care planner’s report, the estimated cost of the medical treatments would total about $46,222 per year and approximately $2 million over the rest of Roper’s life. Defense counsel disputed the extent and nature of Roper’s , claiming that she suffered from a pre-existing degenerative condition that was unrelated to the collision. The defense’s physical medicine and rehabilitation expert performed a review of Roper’s medical records from both before and after the accident, and found that while Roper’s initial course of physical therapy treatment was reasonable, her neck pain and reports of headaches predated the collision. He also noted that Roper’s medical records indicated that she had complained of chronic headaches as recently as eight months before the crash and that the complaints were separate and distinct from the she sustained in the accident. Thus, the defense’s physical medicine and rehabilitation expert opined that Roper had not received sufficient pain relief following her initial course of lumbar radiofrequency ablation and that any future radiofrequency ablation treatment would be ineffective, adding that Roper’s treating neurologist did not establish a definitive causal connection between the crash and Roper’s .
Superior Court of Sacramento County, Sacramento, CA

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