Case details

Plaintiff claimed rear-ender caused lumbar disc herniation





Result type

Not present

annular tear, back, herniated disc, neck
On Jan. 22, 2007, plaintiff Andrea Samarkos, 48, a manager at a dental office, was stopped in her vehicle at a stoplight on Jackson Drive in La Mesa when her vehicle was rear-ended by a vehicle operated by Thomas Goddard. Samarkos claimed to her neck and back. Samarkos sued Goddard, alleging the defendant was negligent in the operation of his vehicle. The matter was originally tried in El Cajon and resulted in a $250,000 verdict. However, the verdict was overturned by the Court of Appeal, Fourth District, and the matter was sent back to the Superior Court for a retrial. During the retrial, plaintiff’s counsel contended that Goddard had just finished a four-hour lunch and was extremely intoxicated at the time of the accident. Goddard claimed that he was not feeling the effects of alcohol when he left the restaurant, but admitted that he was negligent and caused the accident., Samarkos sustained soft-tissue to her neck and back, a herniated disc at L5-S1 with annular tears at that level, and a chipped tooth. She was subsequently taken to a hospital, where she was treated and released. Samarkos then underwent chiropractic care, physical therapy, acupuncture, neurological visits, epidural injections, repair of the tooth, and general practitioner visits. Samarkos sought recovery of $50,000 in past economic damages and $100,000 in past non-economic damages. She also sought recovery of future economic and non-economic damages, as well as punitive damages. Defense counsel disputed the nature and extent of Samarkos’ , contending that Samarkos only received a lumbar strain from the incident. Counsel contended that MRIs taken two years after the accident showed a disc herniation at L5-S1, but that the MRIs directly after the accident just showed a disc bulge at L5-S1. Thus, defense counsel argued that there was another incident that caused the subject herniation.
Superior Court of San Diego County, San Diego, CA

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