Case details

Plaintiff claimed similar injuries after prior crash, defense argued





Result type

Not present

cognition, mental, psychological
On the evening of Aug. 27, 2009, plaintiff Yvonne Brewer, 51, a preschool teacher, was driving her 2000 Ford Explorer on westbound Eighth Street in Oakland when she entered the intersection with Oak Street and was struck by a 2002 Nissan Maxima operated by Lan Tran, who was driving on northbound Oak Street. Brewer claimed to her neck, back and head. Brewer sued the driver, Lan Tran; and the purportedly the owners of the vehicle, Ngua Tran and Motoray Motors. She alleged that Lan Tran was negligent in the operation of her vehicle, and that Ngua Tran and Motoray Motors were vicariously liable for Lan Tran’s actions. Ngua Tran was ultimately dismissed from the case prior to trial, and a default judgment was entered against Motoray Motors. Brewer alleged Lan Tran ran a red light and collided with her vehicle. Brewer’s Explorer was totaled. An independent witness also testified that Brewer’s light was green. Lan Tran testified that she had a green light and that Brewer caused the crash. Defense counsel disputed the claims made by the plaintiff’s independent witness, noting that the witness could not recall some specifics regarding the accident and offered unclear testimony., At the scene, Brewer complained of pain to her leg and neck, and was taken by ambulance to Kaiser Permanente Oakland Medical Center, where she was diagnosed with neck and back sprains. Per a consolidated statement of benefits, Kaiser’s charges totaled $3,151 for visits on Aug. 27, 2009 and Aug. 31, 2009. Brewer then treated with a chiropractor from Sept. 9, 2009, until Nov. 30, 2009, and incurred $2,473 in charges. According to the chiropractor’s final report, Brewer fully recovered. In addition, Brewer claimed $220 in Kaiser co-pays and a prescription charge with the claimed medical/chiropractic charges totaling to $7,248. Brewer claimed she suffered $1,304.50 in lost wages due to missing work at a preschool from Aug. 26, 2009, until Sept. 15, 2009. However, plaintiff’s counsel asked the jury to award Brewer approximately $80,000 in lost wages. Brewer also claimed that she has continuing physical complaints, as well as problems with her memory since the accident. As a result, she saw an expert in orthopedic surgery on Feb. 8, 2013, whom she was referred to by her attorney. Per the orthopedic surgery expert, Brewer’s continuing complaints are related to the accident and she has yet to undergo a proper diagnostic work up. The expert also opined that Brewer requires approximately $82,000 in future care, such as for neurologic and psychiatric evaluations, MRI’s of the brain and neck, diagnostic blocks, facet blocks, radiofrequency rhizotomies, and medication. Plaintiff’s counsel noted that the future medical costs were reduced to about $37,000. However, defense counsel noted that after restrictions imposed per a successful motion in limine, the extent of claimed future care totaled approximately $30,000. Defense counsel contended that Brewer only sustained uncomplicated soft-tissue and recovered within three months. Defense counsel noted that Brewer visited Kaiser on Aug. 31, 2009, complaining of a headache. The “history of present illness” portion of the record stated, in part, “motor vehicle accident last week, “was seen in the ER and told she was okay.”” A CT scan of the head was also normal. Counsel contended that as a result, Brewer was advised to rest, take ibuprofen, and to return in a week if she was not better, and that although Brewer made visits to Kaiser since August 2009, the subsequent visits were for general health needs and were unrelated to the accident. Defense counsel also contended that, per the plaintiff’s treating chiropractor, Brewer fully recovered within approximately three months. Counsel also noted that Brewer did not treat between Nov. 30, 2009, her last chiropractic visit, and Feb. 8, 2013, when she saw her expert orthopedic surgeon. In response, Brewer denied any prior automobile accidents or making similar complaints. However, defense counsel countered that, per the Kaiser records, Brewer was involved in an automobile accident on July 7, 2009, less than two months before the subject accident, and that Brewer had lower back, mid-back and left shoulder complaints following the July 2009 accident. In addition, defense counsel contended that the plaintiff’s orthopedic surgery expert is a “lawsuit doctor,” and was advocating for the plaintiff’s case, as opposed to being a fair and impartial expert relying on the medical evidence.
Superior Court of Alameda County, Hayward, CA

Recommended Experts


Get a FREE consultation for your case