Case details

Plaintiff claimed rear-ender caused shoulder injury





Result type

Not present

injury, muscle, rotator cuff, shoulder, tear, tendon
On Oct. 5, 2009, at approximately 3 p.m., plaintiff Mildred Greenberg, 82, a retiree, was driving on Rossmoor Parkway in Rossmoor when she stopped at the intersection with Tice Valley Boulevard. While waiting to turn right at the intersection, Greenberg was rear-ended by a vehicle operated by Lynne Mayer and allegedly injured her right shoulder. Greenberg sued Mayer, alleging the defendant was negligent in the operation of her vehicle. Specifically, Greenberg contended that after coming to a stop at the intersection and waiting to make her right turn, she was rear-ended by Mayer. Damage to Greenberg’s vehicle was in the range of $700, while there was minimal visual damage to Mayer’s vehicle. No police or medical assistance was called to the scene. Mayer claimed that after Greenberg stopped at the intersection, Greenberg lurched her vehicle forward and then came to another stop. Mayer claimed that it was at that point when she rear-ended the plaintiff’s vehicle., Greenberg went to an urgent care facility on the evening of the accident with complaints of pain to her right, dominant arm and shoulder. She was ultimately diagnosed with a strained shoulder and followed up with several months of physical therapy at Kaiser Permanente Walnut Creek Medical Center. In January 2010, Greenberg underwent an MRI of her right shoulder and a partial tear of the supraspinatus tendon, which is an element of the rotator cuff, was seen. However, Greenberg claimed that due to other medical issues, she did not undergo surgery on her right shoulder until January 2011. The plaintiff’s treating physician and medical experts opined that Greenberg’s shoulder tear was caused by the accident, as there was a mechanism for injury. Greenberg claimed she experiences ongoing pain in her right arm, affecting her ability to swim and do needlework. However, she does not seek any future medical treatment. Thus, Greenberg claimed $63,020.23 in past medical costs and sought an unspecified amount of damages for her pain and suffering. The defense’s biomechanical expert testified that the forces in the accident were minimal and opined that there was no mechanism for a rotator cuff injury. Defense counsel argued that Greenberg’s MRI and medical records clearly reflected only longstanding degenerative changes in her shoulder, and were not indicative of a traumatically torn rotator cuff. Instead, counsel conceded that the initial soft-tissue strain to Greenberg’s shoulder was probably related to the accident and that the physical therapy was reasonable medical care for that injury.
Superior Court of Contra Costa County, Contra Costa, CA

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