Case details

Plaintiff claimed rear-end crash caused cervical herniation





Result type

Not present

back, herniated disc, neck, stenosis
On Oct. 9, 2015, plaintiff Luis Lopez, 62, a handyman in construction, was stopped at a light in Torrance when his vehicle was rear-ended by a vehicle operated by Jasmin Clardy. The impact caused Lopez’s vehicle to be pushed into another vehicle. Lopez claimed to his neck. Lopez sued Jasmin Clardy and the believed owner of Jasmin Clardy’s vehicle, Tara Goods Clardy. Lopez alleged that Jasmin Clardy was negligent in the operation of her vehicle and that Tara Goods Clardy was vicariously liable for Jasmin Clardy’s actions. Tara Goods Clardy was ultimately dismissed from the case and the matter continued against Jasmin Clardy only. Jasmin Clardy admitted liability., Lopez claimed that he sustained a herniated cervical disc at the C3-4 level with right-sided stenosis. After the collision, Lopez complained of neck pain and subsequently presented to Torrance Memorial Medical Center, in Torrance. Four days later, he began a few months of chiropractic treatment. Lopez then went nine months without treatment before undergoing physical therapy twice. He then had no treatment for 10 more months. Lopez eventually saw his treating orthopedic surgery expert in August 2017 and was diagnosed with a C3-4 disc herniation with severe right-sided stenosis. Plaintiff’s counsel noted that there was almost no damage to Jasmin Clardy’s vehicle, but that Lopez’s bumper came down. Lopez’s treating orthopedic surgeon opined that, more likely than not, Lopez’s neck were due to the subject collision. The expert also testified that he approved a cervical discectomy and fusion for Lopez and that he would perform the procedure, but that Lopez did not want undergo surgery. Lopez returned to work, but he claimed he continues to have pain. Thus, Lopez sought recovery of past and future medical costs and non-economic damages for his past and future pain and suffering. Defense counsel argued that Lopez was lying and faking his injury. Counsel contended that there were no objective related to the subject collision and that the cervical herniation was to be expected for someone Lopez’s age. Defense counsel also pointed to a car accident that Lopez was involved in 20 years prior, where Lopez also claimed a neck injury, though it had allegedly resolved. The defense’s expert orthopedic surgeon opined that Lopez’s herniation was not due to the subject collision. He also opined that Lopez’s early treatment was reasonable, but that there was no objective injury and he could not relate the alleged injury to the subject collision.
Superior Court of Los Angeles County, Van Nuys, CA

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