Case details

Plaintiff claimed TMJ and neck injuries from broadside crash





Result type

Not present

back, bulging disc, cervical, disc protrusion, face, head, jaw, lumbar, neck, nose, sprain, strain, temporomandibular, TMJ
On June 14, 2014, plaintiff Chad Anthony, 42, an employee with the Internal Revenue Service, was driving on southbound Battery Street, in San Francisco, when his vehicle entered the intersection with California Street and was broadsided by a vehicle operated by a foreign tourist, Xiaobin Li. Anthony claimed to his face, wrist, chest, neck and back. Anthony sued Li and the owner of Li’s rental vehicle, PV Holding Corp. Anthony served Li, pursuant to Civil Code § 1936, alleging that Li was negligent in the operation of the rental vehicle. Anthony also alleged that PV Holding Corp. was vicariously liable for Li’s actions, but the company was ultimately dismissed before trial. Anthony contended that Li ran a red light, causing the collision. Li admitted liability since the crash was recorded on Anthony’s dashboard camera., Both vehicles sustained major damage, causing air bags to be deployed. The air bag in Anthony’s vehicle caused an impact to his face. Anthony claimed he sustained to his face and jaw, wrist, back and neck. However, he had a dog in the car that was traumatized by the accident, so Anthony refused an ambulance at the scene and decided to take his dog home. He sought treatment at a Kaiser emergency room later that day. Anthony was diagnosed with a temporomandibular joint disorder, a cervical sprain and strain, a cervical disc protrusion, a lumbar sprain and strain, and a wrist sprain. He underwent an MRI of his cervical spine at the Kaiser facility, and a radiologist opined that the cervical MRI was normal. Anthony received medication and underwent physical therapy for his wrist and spinal , and continued to receive conservative treatment at Kaiser for the next four years. He also treated with a chiropractor for about a year following the incident. (All of his treatment, with the exception of the chiropractic treatment and treatment for his TMJ disorder, was done at Kaiser.) When he was discharged, Anthony continued to complain of pain in his neck, back and wrist. Shortly before the trial, he was evaluated by the plaintiff’s retained pain management expert, who referred him for a lumbar MRI and another cervical MRI outside of Kaiser. The MRI findings revealed that Anthony had a cervical disc protrusion in his neck. The plaintiff’s retained radiology expert reviewed both the original cervical MRI and the subsequent MRI, and opined that both MRIs were essentially identical, but that the Kaiser radiologist minimized the findings on the first MRI. Following the second MRI, the plaintiff’s pain management doctor at Kaiser recommended diagnostic and epidural injections to the cervical spine to treat Anthony’s continuing complaints of pain. Anthony received the injections shortly before the trial. Anthony claimed that due to his and treatment, he was put on restricted working hours by his primary care physician at Kaiser. Anthony continued to work less hours up until the trial. He claimed that he incurred an income loss and a loss of benefits and that he will continue to lose income in the future. Anthony also claimed that he will need to continue to receive treatment for all of his medical conditions, including treatment for his TMJ and epidural injections to his spine. Anthony sought recovery of past and future medical costs, past and future loss of earnings and benefits, and damages for her past and future pain and suffering. Li’s counsel denied the nature and extent of Anthony’s alleged . Counsel argued that all of Anthony’s complaints of pain were subjective and not substantiated by any objective findings or examinations. Li’s counsel discussed the sexual encounters of Anthony, an openly gay man, in front of the jury, as it was documented in the Kaiser records. Counsel also argued that since Anthony continued to receive a prescription for Levitra, a drug used to treat erectile dysfunction, following the incident, it showed that Anthony continued to be sexually active and was not hurt by the incident. Li’s counsel argued that although MRIs revealed objective findings of a TMJ disorder, it was a pre-existing condition that was not caused by the subject accident. The defense’s expert oral surgeon testified that Anthony was suffering from bruxism prior to the accident, and opined that the excessive teeth grinding or jaw clenching condition would have resulted in the TMJ disorder, regardless of the subject incident. In addition, Li’s counsel presented a surveillance video of Anthony that was conducted shortly before the trial. It allegedly showed Anthony in the dog park being physically active with his dogs without any visible limitations.
Superior Court of San Francisco County, San Francisco, CA

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