Case details

Plaintiff’s injuries not a result of rear-ender, defense argued





Result type

Not present

back, cervical, cervical disc injury, chest, face, head, headaches neck, jaw, left wrist, lower back, lumbar, mid-, neck, neurological, nose, radicular pain, radiculitis, shoulder, sprain, strain, thoracic, thoracic head, thorax
On March 7, 2012, plaintiff Nick Pham, 51, a certified public accountant, was driving his 2011 Honda Pilot on the Alicia Parkway off ramp, heading onto the San Diego Freeway (Interstate 5) in Mission Viejo, when he came to a stop at a red light and was rear-ended by a 2001 Mazda Miata driven by James Donley. There was reportedly $558 in property damage to Pham’s car, primarily on the left side of the rear bumper, while Donley’s vehicle only sustained car-paint transfer on the right side of the front bumper. Although Pham was wearing both his lap and shoulder belt at the time of the accident, he claimed to his head, shoulder, neck, mid- and lower back, and left wrist. Pham sued Donley, alleging that the defendant was negligent in the operation of his vehicle. Donley admitted liability, and the matter proceeded to an expedited trial on damages. The trial was before a reduced eight-person jury and both sides had three hours to argue their case., Pham claimed he sustained to his head, shoulder, neck, mid- and lower back, and left wrist as a result of the accident. He was not treated at the scene, but presented to a chiropractor five days later. He then went to see his primary care physician approximately 20 days after the accident and complained of headaches and pain to his shoulder, jaw, lumbar spine, and left wrist. Pham also complained of tingling and weakness throughout his upper extremities, as well as cervical pain with numbness and tingling. He was subsequently given neck and wrist braces, and referred for physical therapy. However, Pham declined physical therapy and, instead, completed approximately six weeks of chiropractic care. Pham claimed that he did not have any prior complaints and that all the were the result of the accident. The plaintiff’s treating chiropractor testified by declaration that the accident caused Pham’s and that all of Pham’s treatment was necessary and reasonable. The chiropractor also opined that Pham’s consisted of a cervical sprain/strain, resulting in enthesopathy, myospasms, cervicalgia, and multiple cervical subluxations; a lumbar sprain/strain, resulting in myospasms, lumbar myalgia and subluxation; and a sacroiliac sprain/strain, resulting in subluxation. He also opined that Pham suffered from acute post-traumatic headaches; rib subluxation; and sprains and strains of the thoracic spine and radiocarpal joint of the left wrist. He further opined that Pham’s spinal resulted in brachial neuritis/radiculitis. In addition, the treating chiropractor noted that Pham complained of becoming lightheaded and dizzy, and suffering sleep disturbances. Thus, Pham sought recovery of approximately $3,348 in economic damages for his medical costs and $15,000 in general damages for his pain and suffering. Defense counsel argued that the “minor” rear-end impact could not have caused Pham’s alleged .
Superior Court of Orange County, Santa Ana, CA

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