Case details

Plaintiff: Injuries to spine, finger and hand from rear-ender





Result type

Not present

back, finger, fracture, hand, neck, soft tissue
On Feb. 11, 2011, plaintiff Jose Castaneda, a marketing consultant in his 50s, was driving his 2006 BMW sport utility vehicle on westbound Euclid Avenue in Anaheim when his vehicle was rear-ended by a 2009 Nissan Quest minivan operated by Yun Yoo. Castaneda sustained to his neck, back, and left non-dominant hand and fingers. Castaneda sued Yoo and the owner of the minivan, Eun Choi, Yoo’s mother. Castaneda alleged that Yoo was negligent in the operation of the minivan and that Choi was vicariously liable for her daughter’s actions. Yoo ultimately conceded liability., Four days after the accident, Castaneda presented to his family physician with complaints of neck and back pain. He was subsequently prescribed physical therapy, which he first underwent seven days later. However, at his first physical therapy session, it was noted that Castaneda had left elbow and arm pain. He then treated with physical therapy for two months. Thirty days after the accident, Castaneda returned to his primary care physician with a swollen left hand and fingers, and underwent X-rays. The physician ultimately found a hairline fracture to Castaneda’s left middle finger and diagnosed a trigger finger condition to that finger. Castaneda then transferred his care to another medical facility for medical care and physical therapy. MRIs of his left hand were ordered and stress fractures were found in his left ring and middle fingers. As a result, Castaneda saw an orthopedic surgeon in May 2013, who performed a release surgery for Castaneda’s trigger finger in an outpatient medical facility. Plaintiff’s counsel presented approximately 50 images to the jury, including copies of the MRI of Castaneda’s neck, a medical illustration of the trapezius muscles in the back, medical illustrations showing the anatomy of the tendons in the fingers and the human finger tendon anatomy, plus an extensive timeline of all the events in the case. In his closing statement, plaintiff’s counsel asked the jury to award $26,505 in medical special damages and $200,000 in non-economic damages. Defense counsel admitted that Castaneda sustained soft-tissue neck and back , but disputed the to Castaneda’s hand and fingers, as Castaneda did not report any hand or finger symptoms until 30 days after the accident. The defense’s medical examiner, an orthopedic surgeon, opined that it was possible, but not probable, that Castaneda injured his hand and fingers in the subject collision. The medical examiner also opined that the bills from the plaintiff’s treating physicians, in the amount of $26,505, were excessive. Thus, defense counsel asked the jury to award only $11,000 in medical special damages and $15,000 in non-economic damages.
Superior Court of Orange County, Orange, CA

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