Case details

Plaintiff: Multi-vehicle collision caused lower back problems





Result type

Not present

back, bulging disc, lower back, lumbar
In the early morning hours of Nov. 25, 2010, plaintiff Roger Severson, 20, a warehouse packer, was driving on eastbound San Bernardino Freeway, also known as Interstate 10. After coming to a stop behind a non-party vehicle near Baldwin Park, he was rear-ended by another non-party vehicle, which was stopped behind him. That vehicle was rear-ended by a vehicle operated by George Kerner, causing it to be pushed into Severson’s vehicle. Severson claimed to his lower back. Severson sued Kerner. Severson alleged that Kerner was inattentive and negligent in the operation of his vehicle, causing the crash. Kerner accepted liability for the accident one day before trial., On the day of the accident, Severson was taken to a hospital by his mother in order to get a checkup. Severson was subsequently evaluated and, later, discharged. He then went to see a chiropractor with complaints of lower back pain 43 days later. Severson treated with the chiropractor and an MRI taken 3.5 months later revealed a 2- to 3-millimeter lumbar disc bulge. As a result, Severson consulted with his treating neurosurgeon a few times and received three epidural injections of a steroid-based pain killer, which provided temporary relief. Severson claimed that, despite treatment, he still has pain in his lower back. He alleged that as a result, he will eventually require a lumbar fusion. The plaintiff’s expert neurosurgeon opined that Severson will be a surgical candidate. Thus, plaintiff’s counsel asked the jury to award Severson $350,000 in total damages. Defense counsel contended that Severson sustained some soft-tissue in the subject accident and that he might have even suffered an injury to a lumbar disc, but argued that Severson’s were not as extensive as alleged. Specifically, defense counsel presented a sub rosa video that showed Severson at his job lifting and moving heavy pallets, which Severson claimed he could no longer do after the accident. The defense’s orthopedic expert opined that, in addition to physical therapy and behavior modification, maybe one epidural injection would have been appropriate to treat Severson’s condition. However, the expert opined that Severson was not a surgical candidate, as Severson did not have radicular symptoms. Thus, defense counsel argued that if Severson was awarded anything for his alleged , it should be no more than $30,000.
Superior Court of Los Angeles County, Long Beach, CA

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