Case details

Plaintiff claimed rear-ender caused back injury





Result type

Not present

sprains, strains
On July 23, 2010, plaintiff Andrew Price, 30, was driving his 1997 GMC Yukon on El Camino Real, near its intersection with Edgewood Road in Redwood City, when his vehicle was rear-ended by a 2001 Ford Explorer operated by Beth Schiffman, who was attempting a lane change from the left lane into the right lane. The force of the impact caused Price’s vehicle to propel forward and also strike the vehicle in front of him. He subsequently claimed back from the collisions. Price sued Schiffman, alleging the defendant was negligent in the operation of her vehicle. Schiffman admitted liability., On the day of the accident, Price went to an emergency room twice, as his pain became increasingly worse. He claimed a soft-tissue sprain and strain of his back, and a “normal” MRI showed mild diffuse facet hypertrophy and worn lumbar discs at the L4-5 and L5-S1 levels with a lack of fluid. Price did not claim any wage loss, but alleged that his sleep was prevented on a regular and continuing basis, and that he had intermittent flare-ups of back pain, which are now chronic. Thus, he sought recovery of $87,000 for future physical therapy, $208,000 for his past pain and suffering and $3,175,500 for his future pain and suffering over 43.5 years. Plaintiff’s counsel noted that Price’s vehicle sustained $4,200 in repairs, while Schiffman’s vehicle was totaled. Defense counsel contended that the accident occurred at 35 to 40 mph, but that Price’s films did not show anything of significance, other than some wearing of the discs at L4-5 and L5-S1. Thus, counsel argued that the worn discs were degenerative, and that Price was susceptible to injury due to his hobby of weightlifting and his prior athletic career. In addition, defense counsel introduced evidence that Price reinjured himself subsequent to the accident by rollerblading, snowboarding and performing yoga. Thus, defense counsel asked the jury to award Price only $6,000 to $12,000 in total damages.
Superior Court of San Mateo County, San Mateo, CA

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