Case details

Plaintiff claimed multiple vehicle crash caused lasting injuries





Result type

Not present

aggravation of pre-existing condition shoulder, arthrodesis, back, head, neck
On Sept. 21, 2015, plaintiff Duane Gilbert, 56, a recreation center leader at the San Diego Parks and Recreation Department, was operating his white, 2002 Chevy Trailblazer on southbound Interstate 15, also known as Veterans Memorial Highway, in Escondido. He was on his way to work, after having left his sister’s house in Hemet, and was driving in moderate, but flowing, traffic. As he was traveling in the far left (fast) lane, the vehicle in front of him, a GMC Sierra, came to a complete stop. Gilbert brought his vehicle to a complete stop behind the GMC Sierra, but his vehicle was rear-ended by a white, 2013 Dodge Ram 1500, which was operated by Isidro Quinones. The impact caused Gilbert’s vehicle to come into contact with the GMC Sierra in front of him, which was subsequently pushed forward, but did not contact any other vehicle. Gilbert claimed to his head, neck, lower back, and right shoulder. Gilbert sued Quinones and Quinones’ employer, BMC West, LLC (formally known as BMC West Corp.). Gilbert alleged that Quinones was negligent in the operation of his vehicle and that BMC West was liable for Quinones’ actions while in the course and scope of his work. The defendants did not concede liability., Gilbert claimed that he hit his head on the steering wheel and that he heard a snap to his neck and a pop to his back. He alleged that as a result, he suffered neck and back pain. Gilbert was subsequently taken by ambulance to Palomar Medical Center, in Escondido, where he underwent a CT scan and was diagnosed with strains or sprains to his neck and back. He was then discharged in stable condition. Although the damage to his vehicle was barely visible, Gilbert allegedly suffered extensive due to his prior spinal condition. Gilbert had a remarkable past medical history that included three lower back surgeries (in 1994, 1996, and 2000) and pre-existing myelomalacia (asoftening of the spinal cord). As a result, he claimed the sustained in the collision affected the neurological functions in his spinal cord. Gilbert ultimately underwent a bilateral, anterior cervical discectomy, posterior arthrodesis, and a cervical laminectomy at the C3-4, C4-5, C5-6, C6-7, and C7-T1 levels on June 27, 2016. He also underwent an L4-5 and L5-S1 decompression on Dec. 19, 2016. In addition, he underwent an arthroscopic subacromial decompression on the right shoulder on March 29, 2017. Despite the surgeries, Gilbert claimed that he continues to suffer chronic pain in his neck, back, and right shoulder. He also claimed that he was unable to return to work at San Diego Parks and Recreation, where he was making approximately $13 per hour. He alleged that as a result of his condition, he requires an additional cervical fusion, surgery at T1-2 to account for adjacent segment disease, and the placement of a spinal cord stimulator. Thus, Gilbert sought recovery of over $5 million, including $447,254.52 in past medical costs, an unspecified amount of future medical costs, an unspecified amount of past and future lost wages, and an unspecified amount of damages for his past and future pain and suffering. Defense counsel disputed the nature and extent of Gilbert’s , asserting that Gilbert’s pre-existing conditions necessitated the surgeries that he underwent post-accident. Defense counsel also asserted that appropriate pain management would allow Gilbert to return to gainful employment.
Superior Court of San Diego County, San Diego, CA

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