Case details

Plaintiff’s quality of life unaffected by crash, defense argued





Result type

Not present

back, cervical, lumbar, neck, right shoulder, sprain, strain, thoracic
On April 7, 2012, plaintiff Maria De Garcia, a home daycare operator, was driving on West Miramar Road, in San Diego, on her way home from grocery shopping. After stopping at a red light, De Garcia was rear-ended by a vehicle operated by Tayebah Parvizi. De Garcia claimed to her neck, back and right shoulder. De Garcia sued Parvizi and the registered owner of Parvizi’s vehicle, Azam Doostmehraban (who was erroneously sued as “Azam Doost Mahraba”). De Garcia alleged that Parvizi was negligent in the operation of her vehicle and that Doostmehraban was liable under Vehicle Code § 17150, California’s “permissive use statute.” Doostmehraban was ultimately dismissed from the case prior to trial, and Parvizi did not appear at trial. Photos of both vehicles were entered into evidence. The photos showed minor damage to De Garcia’s rear bumper and major front-end damage to Parvizi’s vehicle. De Garcia’s vehicle required $1,900 in repairs. Defense counsel conceded that Parvizi was liable, and the parties agreed to an expedited jury trial., De Garcia claimed she sustained soft-tissue sprains and strains of the cervical, thoracic and lumbar spine. She also claimed she strained trapezius muscle of her right, dominant shoulder. De Garcia initially declined emergency care at the scene. However, she later sought treatment with orthopedic surgeon approximately one month after the accident, when De Garcia complained of pain and numbness to her back and right shoulder. De Garcia subsequently underwent over two months of physical therapy. De Garcia alleged that she was able to work after the accident, but that she had trouble performing the lifting required of her work with young children. She also alleged that she had to miss time from work due to her weekday physical therapy appointments. However, De Garcia claimed that she does not require further treatment. Thus, De Garcia sought recovery of $6,498 in past medical costs and $1,000 in past loss of earnings. She also sought recovery of between $10,000 and $17,500 in damages for her past pain and suffering. (No future economic damages was sought.) Defense counsel argued that De Garcia’s choice to wait a full month before seeking treatment demonstrated that her were extremely minor. Counsel also argued that De Garcia’s ability to attend daycare certification courses and run a home business showed that De Garcia’s alleged were minor and that she was capable of determining whether or not she could seek emergency medical treatment following the accident. In response, plaintiff’s counsel contended that De Garcia declined ambulance transportation to a hospital because she was concerned about not having insurance. Counsel also contended that any delay in treatment was caused by the availability of De Garcia’s doctor and De Garcia’s need to hire someone to fill in for her at daycare during appointments. As part of the prior agreement for an expedited jury trial, the parties established a high/low stipulation in which damages could not exceed $25,000, but had to equal or exceed $2,800.
Superior Court of San Diego County, San Diego, CA

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