Case details

Plaintiff’s start-and-stop at red light caused crash: defense





Result type

Not present

back, degenerative disc condition, exacerbation of, neck
On June 16, 2010, at approximately 5 p.m., plaintiff Leonilo Guevara, an unemployed/disabled man in his 60s, was driving on southbound Interstate 15 in San Diego when he was rear-ended by a vehicle operated by Rebecca McGuire at the off-ramp intersection for State Route 76. Guevara claimed the impact caused an injury to his neck and an exacerbation of a pre-existing injury to his lower back. Guevara sued McGuire, alleging the defendant was negligent in the operation of her vehicle. Guevara claimed that he was stopped for a red light at the subject intersection and then inched his vehicle up three separate times to check if it was safe to make a right turn. However, he claimed that the third time he did so, he was rear-ended by McGuire, who was inattentive behind the wheel. McGuire denied being inattentive, and claimed Guevara made a sudden and unexpected stop. However, she did not seriously argue liability for the accident., One week after the accident, Guevara went to a hospital with complaints of neck pain, and was ultimately treated and released. He then returned to the same hospital in July 2010 with complaints of worsening lower back pain, having sustained a prior lower back injury from a work-related accident in 2004. Guevara again made neck complaints in November 2010, and treated 12 to 15 times with a physical therapist. Guevara claimed the accident exacerbated his pre-existing lower back condition, which he had been treating through his worker’s compensation doctor since 2004. He also claimed continuing neck complaints, consisting of pain and headaches. Guevara further claimed he tried to return to work, but couldn’t as a result of his pain. Thus, he claimed he will require conservative care, consisting of chiropractic treatments, acupuncture, epidural injections and physical therapy, and sought $535,000 in damages for his future medical costs. Defense counsel argued that the only new injury Guevara sustained from the accident was self-limiting cervical strains and sprains that had resolved by July 2010. Counsel also argued that Guevara’s lower back injury did not worsen after the accident, since the pain rating on his medical records stayed the same.
Superior Court of San Diego County, Vista, CA

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