Case details

Plaintiff claimed rear-ender aggravated prior thumb injury





Result type

Not present

back, lower back
On Feb. 18, 2011, plaintiff Jason Poirier, an unemployed 37 year old, was operating his pickup truck when he came to a complete stop behind two vehicles in front of him on East Lewelling Avenue at the intersection with Paradise Boulevard in Hayward. He claimed that while he was stopped, a vehicle operated by Vanessa Bigelow rear-ended his pickup truck. Poirier claimed he injured his left hand and leg, as well as to his neck and back. Poirier sued Ms. Bigelow and the insured on Ms. Bigelow’s vehicle, Nathan Bigelow. Poirier alleged that Ms. Bigelow was negligent in the operation of her vehicle and that Mr. Bigelow was vicariously liable for her actions. Poirier contended that Ms. Bigelow violated California Vehicle Code § 22350 for traveling at an unsafe speed. Mr. Bigelow was dismissed from the case prior to trial, and Ms. Bigelow conceded liability. Thus, the matter proceeded to an expedited jury trial on damages., Poirier claimed that he had his left thumb resting on the steering wheel and that upon impact, his thumb was severely jarred. Prior to the February 2011 accident, Poirier was involved in another motor vehicle accident on Jan. 6, 2011, where he fractured his left thumb and sustained to his left leg and hand. He subsequently underwent surgery on his left thumb, during which pins were installed on Jan. 21, 2011. Poirier claimed that although he had on a cast from the prior accident, the subject accident on Feb. 18, 2011, aggravated all of his previous and also caused new problems. Poirier claimed that following the February 2011 accident, he began to immediately experience pain in his left thumb, back and neck. As a result, he presented to the emergency department of Highland Hospital on the day of the accident. He was then examined and diagnosed with back and neck strains, prescribed Vicodin and Motrin, and instructed to follow up with an orthopedist. On Feb. 22, 2011, Poirier returned to Highland Hospital with complaints of increased, severe pain to his left hand. His cast was subsequently removed and new X-rays of his left hand were taken, which showed that the pins from the prior surgery were bent. A short arm cast was then reapplied. On March 10, 2011, Poirier returned to Highland Hospital and the cast was removed. He was then given a removable spica splint for his thumb. When Poirier complained of pain in his range of motion, he underwent new X-rays, and was diagnosed with callus. On March 16, 2011, he presented to Discover Chiropractic with complaints of neck and back pain. He was examined and diagnosed with cervical, thoracic and lumbar subluxation, causing lower back pain. As a result, he began treatment that day and continued until July 15, 2011. Poirier claimed that prior to the February 2011 accident, he owned horses and enjoyed riding them on trails with his wife four times per week. He alleged that due to the he sustained in the February 2011 crash, he could no longer care for his horses, including cleaning their stalls, sitting in the saddle and carrying bales of hay. As a result, he sold his horses in early March 2011. Additionally, Poirier alleged that he has trouble playing with his son without pain. Defense counsel argued that the February 2011 motor vehicle accident did not cause Poirier to suffer any significant , pain or discomfort, other than neck and back pain that had resolved within days of the incident. The defense’s medical expert opined that Poirier’s trip to the emergency room on Feb. 18, 2011, was reasonable and necessary, but that no other medical treatment received by Poirier was related to the subject incident.
Superior Court of Alameda County, Oakland, CA

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