Case details

Plaintiff: Rotator cuff tear caused by turning tractor-trailer





Result type

Not present

decreased range of motion, resection, rotator cuff, shoulder, tear
On Nov. 12, 2009, plaintiff Eric Center, 52, an owner of a construction site cleanup company, was with one of his workers as they exited the EDCO disposal plant in his Ford F350 pickup truck that was modified into a hydraulic dump truck. After coming to a stop at the T-intersection of Commercial Lane and Industrial Drive in La Mesa, and waiting for the cross traffic to pass, a tractor-trailer owned by EDCO Disposal Corp. and operated by Sigfridio Estrada came up on Center’s left side and attempted to make a wide right turn ahead of Center’s truck. Subsequently, the left, front-quarter panel of Center’s truck was struck by the trailer of the EDCO rig. Center claimed he injured his left, non-dominant shoulder in the accident. Center sued Estrada and EDCO Disposal Corp. Center alleged that Estrada was negligent in the operation of his tractor-trailer and that EDCO was vicariously liable for its employee’s actions. Estrada contended that he entered the intersection before Center, but that Center raced up alongside of the EDCO tractor-trailer and tried to beat him into the intersection. He claimed that as a result, Center struck the EDCO truck. In addition, Estrada claimed that EDCO drivers commonly have a situation at the subject intersection where drivers are trying to beat its tractor-trailers into the intersection in order to get in front of them. The defense’s accident reconstruction expert opined that Center was at fault for the collision by trying to beat the tractor-trailer into the intersection., After the accident, Center thought he only sustained bumps and bruises. However, two days later, he presented to Paradise Valley Hospital’s emergency room in San Diego with complaints of shoulder pain. As a result, a torn rotator cuff of the left, non-dominant shoulder was suspected and Center was told to follow up with a physician. Since Center did not have a primary care physician, he, instead, saw his treating chiropractor seven days after the collision and subsequently underwent several months of treatment. Once it was determined that Center had sustained a full-thickness tear of his left shoulder’s rotator cuff, his treating chiropractor referred him to an expert orthopedic surgeon. As a result, six months after the subject accident, Center underwent an arthroscopic repair for his left shoulder and a clavicle resection. Center claimed he is left with 20-percent range of motion in his left arm, and has daily pain and discomfort. He also claimed that it is difficult for him to reach overhead. The plaintiff’s orthopedic surgery expert, who was his treating physician, opined that Center’s rotator cuff tear was due to the forces generated from the subject accident. According to plaintiff’s counsel, the defense’s expert medical examiner was excluded from testifying at trial following a Section 402 hearing, as the expert had no opinion on causation and was declared an unnecessary witness.
Superior Court of San Diego County, El Cajon, CA

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