Case details

Plaintiff: Collision aggravated pre-existing back problems




Mediated Settlement

Result type

Not present

back, fusion, lumbar
On Feb. 2, 2008, plaintiff Michael Ingram, 46, was eastbound on Marconi Avenue in Sacramento in his PT Cruiser when an armored truck operated by Alex Karavan pulled out from a parking lot into his path of travel, resulting in a collision near Watt Avenue. Ingram claimed an aggravation of pre-existing as a result of the crash. Ingram sued Karavan, as well as Karavan’s employer, Garda CL West Inc., which also does business as Garda Cash Logistics, Garda Security Inc. and AT Systems Inc. He alleged that Karavan was negligent in the operation of his vehicle, and that Garda was vicariously liable for his actions since Karavan was in the course and scope of his job at the time of the accident. Specifically, Ingram claimed that Karavan was negligent because he failed to yield the right of way in violation of Vehicle Code § 21804. Karavan admitted to being negligent and within the course and scope of his employment., Ingram was taken by ambulance from the scene of the accident and brought to Sutter General Hospital with complaints of neck and back pain. He subsequently underwent three months of chiropractic care, during which his neck pain resolved. His primary care physician then referred him to U.C. Davis Medical Center for ongoing lower back and leg pain, where he underwent a series of three epidural injections from November 2008 to January 2009. Ingram, who had a history of chronic back pain, claimed the collision caused the increase in back and leg pain, which did not resolve with chiropractic treatment, physical therapy or epidural steroid injections. As a result, he ultimately saw his neurosurgery expert, who performed a lumbar fusion at the L4-5 level on July 29, 2009. When the surgery failed to significantly improve Ingram’s symptoms, the expert performed a second surgery on April 21, 2010, which still failed to significantly reduce the symptoms. Ingram claimed that as a result, he was not able to return to his job as a payroll specialist. The plaintiff incurred approximately $375,000 in bills with U.C. Davis Medical Center, of which approximately $100,000 was paid by his health insurer. However, U.C. Davis asserted a balance bill for the difference between what was paid and billed. During a 402 hearing, the contracts representative for the hospital testified that the contract with the health insurer allowed the hospital to recovery 100 percent of the billed amount from the patient when a third-party claim had been asserted. The judge ruled that the full billed amounts were admissible and that the paid amounts were both irrelevant and prejudicial. Thus, Ingram sought recovery of damages for his past and future medical expenses, lost income and pain and suffering. The case was originally tried to a hung jury on March 12, 2012.
Superior Court of Sacramento County, Sacramento, CA

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