Case details

Plaintiff claimed ongoing lower back pain after collision





Result type

Not present

back, lower back
On July 17, 2010, plaintiff Cory Barnhart-Martello, 40, was traveling in her 2005 Hyundai Tucson sport utility vehicle on South Street toward the intersection at 30th Street in Sacramento. At the same time, a 2002 Honda CR-V SUV operated by Maggie Burns was traveling in collided when she attempted to make a left turn from South Street onto 30th Street. As a result, she collided with Barnhart-Martello’s SUV. Barnhart-Martello claimed to her spine, shoulders and left hip. Barnhart-Martello sued Burns, alleging that the defendant was negligent in the operation of her vehicle. Specifically, she claimed that Burns violated her right of way by attempting to turn left directly in front of her, broadsiding her Hyundai. Burns admitted liability for the accident., Following the crash, Barnhart-Martello did not believe she needed an ambulance, but over that weekend she allegedly developed pain and presented to her primary care physician presented to on July 20, 2010. She reported that she had pain in her shoulders, neck and left hip pain, as well as pain in her mid- and lower-back that radiated into the left buttocks. As a result, Barnhart-Martello was prescribed Flexeril and Relafen, and was recommended for therapy. After two months of chiropractic treatment, Barnhart-Martello’s neck pain resolved, but she claimed she still had lingering symptoms in her lower back. In October 2010, she sought follow-up care with her primary care physician for her alleged persistent lower back pain. Between Nov. 5, 2010, and March 1, 2011, she again worked with her chiropractor, but she still reported pain. In February 2011, she began seeing UC Davis physicians for her chronic lower back pain and was prescribed the anti-inflammatory medication Mobic, which she took on a daily basis through August 2011. Barnhart-Martello claimed that by April 2011, she had reached maximum improvement and discontinued her chiropractic treatment. On Oct. 18, 2011, Barnhart-Martello was seen by a physical medicine and pain management physician at UC Davis Spine Clinic. The physician subsequently associated the L4-5 facet irritation with the diagnostic evidence and correlated it to the accident. As a result, on Dec. 5, 2011, Barnhart-Martello underwent a diagnostic medial branch block of the left lumbar at L3-4 and L4-5 at UC Davis. She also underwent a radiofrequency ablation on the left lumbar region at L3-4 and L4-5 at UC Davis on Jan. 30, 2012. Barnhart-Martello claimed that she initially had 90 percent pain on her left side, but that she had very good results from both procedures. By Feb. 18, 2012, Barnhart-Martello reported to the physical medicine and pain management physician that she was symptom free in her lower back. However, she alleged that the RFA procedure began to wear off after six to nine months and that her physical medicine and pain management physician stated that the medial branches will grow back. Prior to the incident, Barnhart-Martello had a full and active life, working part-time and caring for her home and property in the foothills. She was also an avid horseback and motorcycle rider. However, she claimed that prior to the medial branch block and RFA procedures, she was in consistent pain. Defense counsel argued that Barnhart-Martello only had minor soft-tissue to her neck and back, and that those should have resolved with therapy within three months.
Superior Court of Sacramento County, Sacramento, CA

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