Case details

Plaintiff’s spinal woes not caused by accident: defense





Result type

Not present

back, bulging disc, lumbar neck, neck, whiplash
On Jan. 16, 2013, plaintiff Reyna Garcia, 40, a hotel’s housekeeper, was driving in Oakland when her vehicle was rear-ended by a vehicle operated by Andrew Church, who claimed that his vehicle was rear-ended by a vehicle operated by Rhonda Wiley. Garcia claimed to her neck and back. Garcia sued Church and Wiley, alleging that the defendants were negligent in the operation of their respective vehicles. Wiley did not appear at court, and a default judgment was entered against her. Garcia claimed that there was only one impact in the collision and that it was caused by Church. Plaintiff’s counsel contended that Church was to blame for the crash by failing to keep a safe distance from Garcia’s vehicle. Church claimed that Wiley rear-ended his vehicle, which pushed his vehicle into Garcia’s vehicle. He also testified that he spoke with Wiley after the accident. Church’s counsel contended that Garcia saw Church speaking with Wiley about the accident, noting that Garcia testified that she saw a woman at the scene speaking with Church after the collision. Church’s counsel also contended that Church was slowing down in stop-and-go traffic and would have stopped in time, if it had not been for Wiley’s vehicle rear-ending Church’s vehicle., Garcia claimed that she sustained soft tissue to her neck and back, including whiplash to her neck and a possible lumbar disc bulge in her lower back. Garcia underwent acupuncture and chiropractic treatment. Garcia sought recovery of $75,796.70, including $11,235.76 in medical costs, $34,560 in lost wages and $30,000 in damages for her pain and suffering. Defense counsel disputed Garcia’s alleged and damages, noting that there was no ambulance called to the scene and that Garcia did not present to a hospital for care. The defense’s accident reconstruction expert looked at the damage to the vehicles and calculated the force of the impact. He opined that the impact was minimal and that the force was slightly more than the normal acceleration of a vehicle pulling away from a stop sign. The defense’s expert orthopedic surgeon opined that even if Garcia did sustain soft tissue in the accident, those should have been resolved after a short period of time. The defense’s radiology expert opined that Garcia’s were degenerative in nature.
Superior Court of Alameda County, Oakland, CA

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