Case details

Plaintiff claimed lower back pain from impact during merge





Result type

Not present

back, herniated disc, lower back, lumbar, neck
On Feb. 23, 2011, at approximately 10 a.m., plaintiff John Waikle, 46, a health insurance broker, exited the northbound 405 Freeway at Wilshire Boulevard, in Los Angeles, and was merging onto eastbound Wilshire Boulevard when he was allegedly involved in an accident with a gravel truck operated by Diep Dang. Waikle claimed the rear trailer of Dang’s truck clipped the front left tire of his vehicle, causing him to suffer to his lower back. Waikle sued the self-employed owner and operator of the truck, Diep Dang (who was initially erroneously sued as “Dang Diep”). Waikle alleged that Dang was negligent in the operation of his vehicle, causing the impact during the merge. Dang claimed that he was unaware of the collision at the time it allegedly occurred and that, if anything, it was only a minor, glancing blow that could not have caused Waikle any serious injury., Waikle underwent an MRI that revealed a lumbar disc herniation at L5-S1. He, at first, attempted to treat the injury conservatively with chiropractic care, physical therapy and pain management (consisting of epidural steroid injections) over the course of 1.5 years. He also underwent extensive core strength training with a personal trainer in an attempt to regain his pre-accident condition and avoid surgery. However, Waikle claimed that all of the conservative treatment failed to remedy his lower back condition. As a result, he underwent a microdiscectomy at L5-S1 at Pacific Hospital of Long Beach on July 15, 2013. Waikle did not miss any time from work, but he claimed his lower back pain is still ongoing. Waikle claimed he had $152,000 in past medical costs, but the parties stipulated to reasonable past medical costs of $100,000. Waikle also sought recovery of damages for his past and future pain and suffering. Defense counsel noted that both the plaintiff’s and the defense experts agreed that the Delta-V of the alleged impact was approximately 5 mph or less. Thus, defense counsel argued that the minor accident could not have caused Waikle any serious injury. In addition, the defense’s accident reconstruction/biomechanical expert testified that there was no mechanism for injury in the accident alleged by Waikle.
Superior Court of Los Angeles County, Van Nuys, CA

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