Case details

Plaintiff’s psychological issues were pre-existing: defense





Result type

Not present

back, brain, brain damage, brain injury, cervical, cognition, concussion, emotional distress, head, lumbar, lumbar head, mental, neck, psychological, shoulder, sprain, strain, traumatic brain injury
On March 9, 2015, plaintiff Christina Padua, 46, a church administrator, was stopped on northbound Bloomfield Avenue, in Lakewood, to yield for a crossing guard and pedestrians. Her compact vehicle was rear-ended by a compact vehicle operated by Heidi Ji Huang Lee. Padua claimed to her head, neck, back and left shoulder. Padua sued Lee, alleging that Lee was negligent in the operation of her vehicle. Lee admitted liability during discovery., Padua claimed that she sustained sprains and strains to her left shoulder, neck and lower back. She also claimed that she suffered a mild traumatic brain injury (concussion), which caused dizziness, memory loss and fatigue. Padua was brought by ambulance to La Palma Intercommunity Hospital, in La Palma, where she was treated and released. She then underwent physical therapy, which resolved her sprains and strains. However, Padua claimed that she developed post-traumatic stress disorder as a result of the accident and that she had to undergo treatment, which included counseling with psychiatrists and psychologists. Padua claimed she still experiences arm and neck stiffness, arm pain while carrying objects over 20 pounds, and nightly headaches. She also claimed she still experiences blurred vision, depression, confusion, anger dizziness, forgetfulness, and suicidal ideations. While Padua stopped all treatment for her physical ailments a few months after the accident, she still seeks counseling from Kaiser psychologists and psychiatrists once a month. Padua claimed that she has trouble moving heavy objects and finding addresses as a result of her and that she no longer goes to school. Padua waived her claim for past medical expenses prior to trial. She also waived her loss of earnings and earning capacity claims. She claimed her future medical care for her physical and psychological totaled $132,149.10, but she was willing to waive her claim regarding her physical . Plaintiff’s counsel asked the jury to award Padua $400,750 in total damages, including $7,500 for future medical expenses involving Padua’s psychological treatment only, $150,000 for past pain and suffering, and $250,000 for future pain and suffering. However, counsel told the jury to award Padua nothing if it believed that the accident had nothing to do with Padua’s alleged psychological . Defense counsel argued that Padua sustained no psychological trauma and that Padua only sustained minor strains and sprains. Defense counsel contended that Padua had consistent thyroid complaints in her medical records since 2015 and that Padua’s symptoms included fatigue, muscle weakness, muscle aches, stiffness, depression and impaired memory. As a result, counsel argued that Padua’s claims of mild traumatic brain injury (concussion) and post-traumatic stress disorder were opportunistic and that Padua’s pre-existing hypothyroidism caused the psychological symptoms that she blamed on the accident.
Superior Court of Los Angeles County, Los Angeles, CA

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