Case details

Plaintiff claimed red light crash caused lower back injuries





Result type

Not present

annular tear, back, cervical, disc protrusion, lumbar, neck, neurological, radiculopathy, sprain, strain, thoracic
On Oct. 12, 2015, plaintiff Stephanie Moreno, 40, a student, was driving in Jurupa Valley. When she entered the intersection of Limonite Avenue and Pats Ranch Road, her vehicle was broadsided by a vehicle operated by Gale Connick. Moreno’s vehicle then collided with a vehicle operated by Darlene Hutchinson. Moreno sustained to her lower back. Moreno sued Gale Connick; Gale Connick’s employer, Patriot Exteriors Inc.; the vehicle owner that leased the vehicle to Patriot Exteriors, GCS Enterprises Inc.; and the believed operators of GCS Enterprises, Greg Connick and Vicky Connick. Moreno alleged that Gale Connick was negligent in the operation of his vehicle and that GCS Enterprises, Patriot Exteriors, Greg Connick and Vicky Connick were vicariously liable for Gale Connick’s actions. Specifically, Moreno claimed that Gale Connick ran a red light, causing the collision. Hutchinson brought a separate suit against Gale Connick and Patriot Exteriors. The matters were consolidated, but Hutchinson settled her case prior to trial, on Sept. 12, 2018. The defendants admitted liability prior to a trial., Moreno suffered protruding lumbar discs at the L4-5 and L5-S1 levels with annular tears, resulting in bilateral L5 radiculopathy. She also suffered cervical and thoracic sprains and strains. The police were not called to scene, and Moreno was not transported by ambulance to a hospital. Moreno first sought physical therapy with Integrated Medical Center of Corona / Chiropractic Network in Corona on Nov. 30, 2015. She then underwent 16 sessions of physical therapy, which included manipulation techniques, muscle stimulation and ultrasound therapy, until Feb. 11, 2016. During that time, Moreno also sought treatment with her a board-certified orthopedic surgeon at the Institute for Spinal Health on Dec. 6, 2015. He diagnosed Moreno with a cervical sprain and strain, a thoracic sprain and strain, and a lumbar sprain and strain. The treating orthopedic surgeon recommended that Moreno continue with her therapy, and he ordered an MRI of Moreno’s cervical and lumbar spine. On Dec. 26, 2015, Moreno underwent a lumbar MRI, which revealed a 55 millimeter central disc protrusion with a posterior focus of T2 hyperintensity, which the treating orthopedic surgeon believed was suggestive of an annular tear/fissure with stenosis, and a broad-based 4 millimeter central disc protrusion at the L4-5 level, which the treater felt was suggestive of an annular tear/fissure with stenosis. On Jan. 18, 2016, Moreno presented to her treating neurologist, and underwent electromyography and nerve conduction studies, which revealed bilateral L5 radiculopathy. Moreno then underwent a series of three L5-S1 interlaminar epidural steroid injections with extension to the L4-5 level on March 6, 2016, May 15, 2016 and June 5, 2016. However, Moreno claimed that the epidurals provided her with minimal relief, so she underwent microdecompression surgery on the L4-5 and L5-S1 levels on Sept. 15, 2016. Although the L4-5 and L5-S1 microdecompression surgery alleviated her radicular symptoms, Moreno claimed that she still has axial lower back pain. Moreno testified at her deposition that she was doing better after the surgery, but that she still had residual limitations with her activities of daily living. Moreno sought recovery of $174,157.96 in past medical costs. She also sought recovery of damages for her past and future pain and suffering.
Superior Court of Riverside County, Riverside, CA

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