Case details

Plaintiff claimed rear-end collision caused lasting injuries





Result type

Not present

back, fusion, herniated disc, lumbar
On the evening of June 26, 2014, plaintiff Sergio Gil, 43, a construction framer, was driving on Interstate 605, also known as the San Gabriel River Freeway, in Whittier, heading home following a long day of work. However, Gil had no driver’s license. When he was near the Slauson Avenue exit, his vehicle was rear-ended by a large, Andersen Commercial Plumbing van operated by Trevor Buczynski. Gil claimed to his neck and back. Gil sued Buczynski and Buczynski’s employer, Anderson Commercial Plumbing Inc., which also owned the van. Gil alleged that Buczynski was negligent in the operation of the van and that Anderson Commercial Plumbing was vicariously liable for Buczynski’s actions while in the course and scope of his employment. Prior to trial, defense counsel admitted that Buczynski was entirely at fault for the accident. Thus, the only issues that remained for trial were the nature and extent of Gil’s ., Gil claimed he sustained herniated discs at the L4-5 and L5-S1 levels. Following the collision, later that evening, Gil was evaluated in the emergency room for neck and back sprains and strains. He then returned to work the following day, continuing his employment as a construction framer. Gil underwent conservative therapy treatment, such as pain management, chiropractic treatment, and epidural injections for about one year. He claimed that after conservative treatment failed him, he underwent a discogram to further assure that surgery would be required. Gil’s discogram was positive, so he underwent a spinal fusion at the L5-S1 level and a lumbar decompression to the adjacent level, at L4-5. Gil was a lifetime construction worker who continues to work in construction and did not miss any time from work. However, he claimed that he now suffers from pain every day and that his mobility is limited. Gill alleged that as a result, he will require treatment and care for the rest of his life, as well as a lumbar fusion to the adjacent disc in 15 years. The plaintiff’s medical experts agreed that Gil’s treatment was reasonable and necessary and that Gil’s were caused by the collision. The plaintiff’s expert life care planner estimated a future life care plan at approximately $400,000. Thus, Gil, who required the use of an interpreter throughout trial, sought recovery for his past and future medical costs, and past and future pain and suffering. Defense counsel disputed causation and damages, arguing that Gil’s did not require surgery, or future care and treatment. Counsel also argued that Gil, who is non-English speaking, continued his employment as a framer immediately after the collision. The defense’s biomechanical expert opined that the impact, which occurred at only a 6 mph, could not have caused a spinal injury. In addition, the defense’s spinal expert opined that such an impact could not have possibly caused nerve compression. Thus, defense counsel asked the jury to award Gil only $15,000 in total damages.
Superior Court of Los Angeles County, Van Nuys, CA

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