Case details

Plaintiff claimed rear-ender caused neck injuries





Result type

Not present

back, blurred vision, cervical disc, dizziness, fatigue, gastrointestinal, impairment, nausea, neck, neck. pain, neurological, radiculopathy, sensory, speech, spondylosis, stenosis, stiffness, vision
On Feb. 6, 2009, plaintiff Katherine Cordova, 54, a speech language pathologist, was driving south on 26th Street in Santa Monica. At approximately 3:10 p.m., while Cordova was stopped traffic just north of California Avenue, she was rear-ended by a van operated by Martin Jimenez. She claimed to her neck from the impact. Cordova sued Jimenez and the owner of the van, Larussa Audio/Video Design Inc. She alleged that Jimenez was negligent in the operation of his vehicle and that Larussa was vicariously liable for Jimenez’s actions. Cordova claimed that Jimenez was being inattentive in traffic, causing the rear-end collision. The defendants conceded liability., Cordova presented to her family doctor on Feb. 13, 2009, with complaints of neck pain and stiffness, as well as blurred vision, nausea, dizziness and fatigue. She subsequently began a course of physical therapy in March 2009 and underwent an MRI on April 29, 2009, which revealed multi-level cervical spondylosis from C3 through C7, as well as stenosis. A physical examination also strongly indicated right, C7 radiculopathy. Cordova continued with physical therapy through July 2009, and then had another course of physical therapy from November 2010 to March 2011. When she continued to complain of pain symptoms, she underwent a nerve block on Aug. 26, 2011, followed by two series of epidural injections on Sept. 16, 2011 and Dec. 9, 2011. Cordova claimed that the epidural injections provided relief, but that she still deals with residual stiffness and discomfort in her neck. She alleged she missed four days of work following the accident, and is now restricted in her ability to sit on the floor at eye level with her young patients while conducting therapy at her job as a speech pathologist. Cordova also alleged that she can no longer go skiing and is limited in lifting weights. Thus, she sought recovery of damages consisting of $40,000 past medical costs (pre-Howell), $1,700 for past lost earnings, and an unspecified amount for her pain and suffering. Defense counsel argued that Cordova had pre-existing degenerative changes in her spine and that she only suffered soft-tissue in the accident, which should have resolved within weeks. Counsel also argued that the accident did not cause the degenerative changes and that her treatment was excessive.
Superior Court of Los Angeles County, Santa Monica, CA

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