Case details

Plaintiff: Rear-ender aggravated spine and caused thumb injury





Result type

Not present

back, neck, stenosis
At approximately 4 p.m. on March 13, 2009, plaintiff Lori McGinley, a realtor in her 40s, was driving west on Old Conejo Road in Thousand Oaks when she was rear-ended by a vehicle operated by Bonnie Eichenberg. The impact subsequently pushed McGinley’s car into another vehicle. McGinley claimed to her neck, lower back and left thumb. McGinley sued Ms. Eichenberg and the owner of the vehicle, her husband, Tim Eichenberg. She alleged that Ms. Eichenberg was negligent in the operation of her vehicle and that her husband was vicariously liable for her actions. Mr. Eichenberg was ultimately dismissed from the case, since his wife was an insured on the vehicle. McGinley alleged that Ms. Eichenberg was driving inattentively and possibly using a cell phone device during the accident. Ms. Eichenberg admitted liability for the accident, and the matter proceeded to a trial on causation and damages., McGinley was taken from the scene of the accident by ambulance and brought to an emergency room with complaints of neck and lower back pain. Three months before the subject accident, McGinley underwent a three-level cervical fusion, for which she was receiving physical therapy. Thus, she was wearing a neck brace at the time of the March 2009 rear-ender. McGinley feared the accident destabilized her fusion and exacerbated the injury, while creating a new injury of spinal canal stenosis to her lower back. She subsequently treated with additional physical therapy and epidural injections. McGinley also claimed a ligament tear of her left, dominant thumb as a result of bracing for the impact. Within 60 days of trial, McGinley underwent surgery on her left thumb and continued to treat conservatively. McGinley claimed she lost real estate opportunities during her ongoing recovery. Thus, she claimed $28,000 in past medical costs and asked the jury to award her roughly $1 million in total damages. Defense counsel argued that McGinley suffered from pre-existing neck and back , and that her thumb injury was not related to the accident. Counsel contended that McGinley first complained about her thumb two years after the subject accident and never mentioned it during her roughly 15 to 20 medical appointments in that span. Thus, defense counsel contended that McGinley’s special damages were roughly $4,500 to $6,500, and that her general damages were worth $10,000.
Superior Court of Ventura County, Ventura, CA

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