Case details

Plaintiff claimed neck and back injuries from low-speed crash





Result type

Not present

back, neck, sprains, strains
On the morning of March 1, 2010, plaintiff Jose Tapia, a machine operator in his 60s, was driving his 1987 Volvo 740 in stop-and-go traffic on Puente Avenue. As he stopped for a red light, south of Temple, in La Puente, his vehicle was stuck by a 1987 Chevrolet Cheyenne operated by Daniel Chavez Olivares. Tapia claimed the force of the impact caused Tapia to hit his head on the steering wheel and crack his eyeglasses in half. Tapia sued Olivares and believed owner of the vehicle, Raul Chavez. He alleged that Olivares was negligent in the operation of his vehicle and that Olivares’ father, Chavez, was vicariously liable for his son’s actions. Chavez denied liability, claiming that he was neither the driver nor registered owner of the vehicle involved. Once it was determined that Olivares was registered owner of the vehicle, Tapia dismissed his claims against Chavez with prejudice on the first day of trial. Tapia claimed his vehicle was rear-ended by Olivares. Olivares was on active duty with the U.S. Army and unavailable to testify in his defense. However, he claimed that his vehicle only tapped the rear bumper of Tapia’s vehicle. Olivares admitted liability, but denied causation., Tapia claimed sprain and strains of his upper back and neck, but was not treated at the scene or taken to a hospital. He later underwent chiropractic care to treat his alleged . Defense counsel disputed Tapia’s , arguing that the low-speed impact was insufficient to cause the claimed by Tapia. Counsel noted that Tapia refused medical attention and drove to work from the scene. She also contended that Tapia did not seek any medical attention until 10 days after the collision, when he visited a chiropractor chosen by his attorney with complaints of neck and upper back pain. Defense counsel noted that Tapia received 25 chiropractic treatments for soft-tissue strains, while no X-rays were taken, for a total charge of $3,440. She added that Tapia never missed any time from his full-time job as a machine operator and that the plaintiff testified at deposition that these did not affect the performance of his job duties. Defense counsel also contended that Tapia’s vehicle sustained $290 in superficial property damage, while Olivares’ vehicle was not damaged at all.
Superior Court of Los Angeles County, El Monte, CA

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