Case details

Plaintiff claimed multiple vehicle rear-ender caused bulging disc





Result type

Not present

back, brain, bulging disc, concussion, head, lumbar
On Oct. 22, 2012, plaintiff Jose Monterrosa, 47, a truck driver, was driving in the left, number one lane, of southbound Interstate 710 in Long Beach, on his way to a job interview. At approximately 7:30 a.m., while stopped for several seconds in stop-and-go traffic, Monterrosa was rear-ended by a vehicle operated by Amy Selena Broussard Dawson. The impact caused Monterrosa to rear-end the vehicle immediately in front of him and claim to his neck, lower back, and head. Monterrosa sued Amy Dawson and the owner of the vehicle, Robert Dawson. He alleged that Ms. Dawson was negligent in the operation of her vehicle and that Mr. Dawson, was vicariously liable for his wife’s actions. Ultimately, Mr. Dawson was voluntarily dismissed from the case since his wife was an insured on the vehicle. Monterrosa alleged that Ms. Dawson was driving inattentively, which caused the multiple impact rear-end collision. Ms. Dawson admitted liability before trial, and the matter proceeded to a trial on causation and damages., Monterrosa went to his doctor on the day of the accident and was diagnosed with a concussion and strains/sprains of his back. Two months after the accident, he underwent an MRI that revealed a lumbar disc bulge at the L4-5 level. Monterrosa subsequently followed up with two months of physical therapy and had several months of rest before returning to work as a truck driver. In August 2011, he received an epidural injection to his lower back and obtained some pain relief. Monterrosa claimed that all of his resolved by the time of trial, with the exception of his lower back pain, which prevented him from playing with his son as he did before the accident. Thus, he claimed $36,355 in damages for past medical costs, $17,000 in damages for past lost earnings, $25,000 in damages for his past pain and suffering, and anywhere from $1,000 to $5,000 in damages for his future pain and suffering. At the time of trial, Monterrosa’s life expectancy was 30 years. Defense counsel argued that Monterrosa sustained only minor soft-tissue during the moderate impact collision, from which the plaintiff fully recovered. Counsel also argued that the disc abnormalities shown on the MRI were very minimal and caused by pre-existing degenerative changes. Thus, defense counsel contended that Monterrosa’s epidural injection was unnecessary, since the lumbar MRI did not reveal any nerve impingement. Defense counsel further contended that Monterrosa’s lost earnings claim was speculative, because the plaintiff was on his way to a job interview at the time of the accident. Thus, defense counsel argued that if the jury was to award the plaintiff any damages, it should award Monterrosa $10,000 to $15,000 in total damages.
Superior Court of Los Angeles County, Long Beach, CA

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