Case details

Plaintiff claimed spinal injuries from rear-end accident





Result type

Not present

annular tear, back, disc protrusion, facet syndrome, multiple neck, neck, stenosis, thoracic head
On April 6, 2012, at approximately 10 a.m., plaintiff Edward Byrd, 56, a carpenter, was driving his Ford F-250 in the number four (far left) lane on northbound Capitol Expressway, in San Jose. When Byrd was just south of Aborn Road, his vehicle was rear-ended by a Toyota Camry operated by Myrna Valdez Macias. Byrd’s truck sustained moderate damage, while Macias’ vehicle sustained major damage. Byrd claimed multiple neck and back . Byrd sued Macias, alleging that Macias was negligent in the operation of her car. Byrd claimed that Macias failed to keep a proper lookout and struck him going no less than 30 mph., Byrd claimed that he sustained to his cervical, thoracic and lumbar spine, resulting in headaches. Byrd did not require an ambulance after the accident, but he presented to a Kaiser Permanente hospital later that day with complaints neck pain on the left and relentless headaches. His neck was subsequently X-rayed, and he was sent home with pain and anti-inflammatory medication. He was also given instructions to apply ice and get rest. On April 23, 2012, Byrd returned to the Kaiser Permanente facility with complaints of increasing neck pain, stiffness, diminished range of motion, and pressure-like headaches. As a result, he was referred to physical therapy, but he, instead, opted to undertake a recommended home exercise regimen designed to strengthen his neck and increase range of motion. However, Byrd returned to Kaiser a few days later with complaints of neck pain, stiffness, reduced range of motion, and severe pressure-like headaches that had continued for days. He was subsequently treated by a primary care physician, an ophthalmologist, who sent Byrd for lumbar X-rays due to his complaints of persisting pain. Byrd was subsequently diagnosed with chronic lower back pain, and he was advised to “hang in there” and keep up with the medication until the symptoms eventually subside. However, Byrd returned to the physician with persistent lower back pain on Dec. 12, 2012, and was sent for additional lower back X-rays, which were performed at Kaiser on Jan. 16, 2013. The plaintiff’s treating physician determined that Byrd had spurring and narrowing at the L5-S1 disc space, but indicated there was nothing she could do. As a result, the physician referred Byrd for more physical therapy, during which a therapist treated Byrd with transcutaneous electrical nerve (TENS) stimulation. Since Byrd liked the results, he purchased a TENS unit himself. On Jan. 23, 2013, Byrd again presented to Kaiser with complaints of neck and back pain, and on Jan. 29, 2013, he emailed his doctor regarding increasing his medication dosage. He again presented to Kaiser with complaints of lower back and neck pain on May 3, 2013 and June 5, 2013. Byrd then returned to physical therapy, with suggested acupuncture or TENS unit treatments, and was sent for thoracic X-rays, which was essentially unremarkable. He then underwent physical therapy on June 24, 2013, and was advised to stop working in construction and performing some of his other strenuous activities. He was also prescribed Naproxen on Aug. 6, 2013, Aug. 20, 2013, and Sept. 19, 2013. Byrd then renewed his Flexeril prescription for treatment of neck muscle spasms and strain on March 31, 2014. By mid-2014, after Byrd’s primary doctor continued to prescribe medication and ordered blood tests to ensure that the large repetitive dosages since April 2012 were not damaging Byrd’s internal organs, Byrd indicated to his doctor that her approach was not working to resolve or adequately control his level of neck, mid-back, and lower back pain. As a result, Byrd started treating with an orthopedic surgeon on Nov. 10, 2014. By this time, Byrd was complaining of constant lower back pain that radiated down both legs, mid-back tenderness and spasms, some neck pain and stiffness, and reduced range of motion throughout the back and neck. Due to the allegedly chronic nature of Byrd’s symptoms, the orthopedic surgeon ordered cervical and thoracic MRI studies, which were performed at the Santa Clara Imaging Center on Dec. 5, 2014. The thoracic MRI revealed a small posterior disc extrusion and an annular tear at T6-7, small disc protrusions at T9-10 and T11-12, and mild curvature of the lower thoracic spine. The cervical MRI revealed facet atrophy and stenosis at C4-5, C5-6, and C6-7. The orthopedist reviewed the MRI results on Dec. 8, 2014, and recommended epidural steroid injections to C7-T1 at a projected cost of $1,900 for one level epidural, $1,800 for the second level, $2,000 for a fluoroscopy, and between $8,000 and $12,000 for an outpatient surgical facility fee. Thus, Byrd sought recovery for his past and future medical costs and loss of earnings. He also sought recovery of damages for his past and future pain and suffering. Defense counsel noted that Byrd did not require an ambulance immediately after the accident. Thus, defense counsel disputed causation of Byrd’s alleged .
Superior Court of Santa Clara County, Santa Clara, CA

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