Case details

Plaintiff claimed rear-end accident caused knee tear




Mediated Settlement

Result type

Not present

anterior cruciate ligament, knee, tear
On June 16, 2011, plaintiff Carlos Sandoval, 56, was a passenger in a “cone truck,” driven by a coworker, while both were working for Granite Construction Co. The truck was stopped at a red light at the intersection of Trimble Road and Zanker Road in San Jose when they were rear-ended at a low-speed by a 1994 Frieghtliner big-rig that was towing double-bottom trailers and operated by Harinderjit Pamma. Sandoval claimed his left knee struck a metal box located right below the dashboard in front of him inside the cab of the vehicle, allegedly causing an injury. No police report was taken about the accident, and there was $2,500 in damage to the Granite Construction truck (due to the back bumper needing to be replaced). Sandoval sued Harinderjit Pamma, individually and doing business as Pamma Trucking, and the previous owner of Pamma Trucking, Gurminder Pamma. Sandoval initially alleged that Harinderjit Pamma was negligent in the operation of the truck and that Gurminder Pamma was vicariously liable for Harinderjit Pamma’s actions. However, Gurminder Pamma was dismissed early in the litigation once it was discovered he was not the owner of Pamma Trucking at the time of the accident. Harinderjit Pamma conceded liability., Sandoval claimed he injured his left knee when he struck it on a metal control box inside the cab of his truck during the accident. He initially treated his knee with ice, daily, to help bring down the swelling, but he did not receive medical treatment for several weeks post-accident. Sandoval’s first doctor visit was on July 18, 2011. He then underwent physical therapy for a couple of months, but his condition did not improve. An MRI was taken on Sept. 2, 2011, and it was determined that Sandoval suffered an anterior cruciate ligament tear of his left knee. As a result, he underwent reconstructive surgery to repair the torn ACL in his left knee on Nov. 30, 2011. After the operation, Sandoval developed knee infections, which required four surgical debridement procedures and resulted in hospitalization on one occasion due to complications related to the infection. Eventually the knee reconstruction surgery had to be reversed and grafts had to be removed due to lingering infection. Sandoval claimed he was eventually unable to work because of his knee injury. He alleged he also has no prospect of ever returning to work because of his lack of education and transferable job skills. Sandoval also claimed that he will require at least one additional surgery. In addition, all orthopedic doctors, including the defense’s medical expert, agreed that Sandoval will require a total knee replacement. The plaintiff’s workers’ compensation carrier, Valley Forge Insurance Brokerage, intervened in the lawsuit on behalf of Sandoval’s employer, Granite Construction. The carrier agreed to waive the $167,538.81 compensation lien, and pay Sandoval $62,500 in exchange for Sandoval entering into a third-party compromise and release. Defense counsel contested Sandoval’s injury being caused by the accident, contending that Sandoval’s job involved extensive manual labor. The defense’s medical expert testified that the MRI taken on Sept. 2, 2011, revealed that Sandoval had an old chronic ACL tear and severe degeneration that predated the accident.
Superior Court of Santa Clara County, Santa Clara, CA

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