Case details

Plaintiff claimed rear-end crash caused chronic coccygeal pain





Result type

Not present

lower back, neck, tailbone
On July 6, 2011, plaintiff Jennifer Holt was stopped in her vehicle at a red light on westbound Water Street at the intersection with Branciforte Street in Santa Cruz. When the light turned green, a vehicle driven by Maura Salado started forward and rear-ended Holt’s vehicle. Holt claimed she sustained to her neck, lower back and tailbone. Holt sued Salado for negligent operation of a motor vehicle. Holt claimed that she was stopped at the red light behind another car and that when the light turned green, Salado’s car struck her. She claimed the force of the collision caused her vehicle, in turn, to rear-end the car ahead of her. Salado claimed that when her car moved forward, it only lightly tapped the rear of Holt’s vehicle, if touching it at all, and that no secondary collision occurred. She further claimed that when the light turned green the vehicle in front of Holt accelerated in normal fashion and left the scene., Holt claimed she injured her neck, lower back, and coccyx (tailbone) in the collision. Holt claimed her were related to the crash, which caused close to $5,000 in damage to her car. She also claimed that by the time of trial, her spinal had lessened, but that her coccyx injury became chronic and interfered with her ability to earn money as a therapist. Thus, Holt initially sought recovery of $1 million in damages, an amount reduced by the time of trial to $179,000 as her condition improved. She also sought recovery of $21,596 in past medical costs and $13,321.86 in anticipated medical expenses. Defense counsel argued that the speed of impact resulted in a less than 6 mph Delta-V, which was insufficient to cause any injury. Counsel also argued that Holt did not show any objective findings from health care practitioners documenting her coccyx injury, which was the focus of her lawsuit. The defense’s neurosurgery expert opined that Holt suffered only a minor bruise of her coccyx that should have healed within six to eight weeks. Thus, defense counsel impugned Holt’s credibility as “so questionable” the jury should not believe Holt’s claims of pain.
Superior Court of Santa Cruz County, Santa Cruz, CA

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