Case details

Plaintiff: Rear-ender caused numbness in arms and hands





Result type

Not present

anxiety, bulging disc, cervical, depression, mental, neck, psychological
At approximately 3 p.m. on Feb. 13, 2008, plaintiff Sylvia Weadock, 45, a cook/food service director, was stopped for a red light on 19th Avenue, at the intersection of Ulloa Street in San Francisco, when she was rear-ended by a vehicle operated by Nelya Budman. Weadock claimed to her neck and back, along with radiculopathy into her arms and hands. Weadock sued Budman, alleging that the defendant was negligent in the operation of her vehicle. Specifically, she claimed that Budman was driving inattentively and failed to stop her vehicle in time to avoid the collision. According to defense counsel, Budman withheld admitting liability until the end of trial for tactical reasons. She had previously testified in the plaintiff’s case-in-chief on C.C.P. § 776., Weadock was taken by ambulance to an emergency room, where she claimed to her entire body. She primarily complained of pain to her neck, back, shoulders, arms and hands, including numbness and tingling down into her arms and hands. Weadock also claimed a brain injury, causing concentration and focus problems. She alleged that her neck injury consisted of a cervical disc protrusion at C5-6, which pressed on and flattened the nerve. Weadock subsequently treated at the emergency room and thereafter, over the course of thirteen months, through the worker’s compensation system at Kaiser. She also had monthly doctor visits, several regiments of physical therapy, up to two years of chiropractic care, and on-going acupuncture until the present. She also had two epidurals, X-rays, an MRI, EMG studies, and a second opinion with an outside orthopedist. At the time of the accident, Weadock was working at Vintage Senior Living Center in San Francisco, which is an assisted-living center for seniors. She had been a cook for Bob Dylan, Paul Simon, Brian Wilson, Dave Matthews, Cirque de Soleil, and on the set of the film “Titanic.” However, she claimed that despite treatment for her accident-related , she still experiences residual pain and discomfort in her neck, as well as weakness and numbness radiating down her arms and hands. She claimed that as a result, she is unable to hold objects beyond minimal weights, such as pots, pans and stock arriving at wherever she is working. Weadock additionally claimed anxiety and depression as a result of the accident. Thus, the plaintiff’s expert psychiatrist testified that Weadock needed several years of psychotherapy and cognitive behavioral therapy. Weadock claimed in excess of $220,000 in damages for her future medical care and costs, which, according to her expert orthopedic surgeon, included fusion surgery on her cervical spine and/or facet blocks and nerve excision. The plaintiff also claimed in excess of $700,000 for her past and future lost earnings and, by extrapolation from her counsel’s closing argument, approximately $2 million for general damages for her pain and suffering. Weadock did not make a claim for past medical costs, as they had been paid by worker’s compensation. The defense’s expert radiologist testified that Weadock did not sustain a new protrusion at C5-6 in the subject accident, and that the protrusion seen on MRI was a progression of her pre-existing degenerative disc disease. The defense’s orthopedic expert opined that Weadock merely suffered a neck strain and that she was capable of working within six weeks to several months of the accident. In addition, the defense’s psychiatry expert testified that Weadock did not suffer from anxiety or depression from the accident.
Superior Court of San Francisco County, San Francisco, CA

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