Case details

Plaintiff’s treatment should have resolved injuries: defense





Result type

Not present

cervical, disc protrusion, head, headaches, neck, neurological, radicular pain, radiculitis
On Nov. 16, 2015, plaintiff Susan Cregg, 50, an interior designer, was stopped for traffic at the intersection of Marine Avenue and Aviation Boulevard, in Redondo Beach, when her sport utility vehicle was rear-ended by a sedan operated by Michelle Baker. Cregg claimed to her neck and back. Cregg sued Baker, alleging that Baker was negligent in the operation of her vehicle. Cregg’s husband, Sean Cregg, and Cregg’s daughter, Amanda Cregg, were initially also named as plaintiffs, but their claims were dismissed prior to the commencement of trial. Baker accepted responsibility for the accident., Susan Cregg claimed that she sustained disc protrusions at the C5-6 and C6-7 levels. She also claimed that she suffered right shoulder pain and headaches, as well as occasional mild radicular pain from her neck to her shoulder. Cregg sought chiropractic care two days after the accident and continued treatment, which included orthopedic care, chiropractic care, physical therapy and acupuncture, for 11.5 months. Plaintiff’s counsel contended that the property damage to Cregg’s vehicle totaled $2,689.16, while the property damage to Baker’s vehicle totaled $8,663.41. Based on the damage to the two vehicles, plaintiff’s counsel argued that the collision caused Cregg’s . Cregg claimed that despite continuing to receive treatment, she still suffers from range of motion limitations in her neck. She claimed that as a result, she can no longer exercise or perform any significant lifting activities, such as weight lifting activities. She also claimed that she has pain when sitting for long periods of time at a desk or during work travel. Cregg’s expert orthopedic surgeon, who also treated Cregg, opined that the disc protrusions could have been caused by trauma and that Cregg had chronic neck pain as a result of the accident. He also opined that Cregg would likely need yearly conservative treatment, such as chiropractic care and/or acupuncture, to treat flare-ups, but that Cregg’s condition would likely decline as she got older, causing the possible need for cervical epidural injections. Cregg’s chiropractic expert testified as to the reasonableness of the chiropractic care and acupuncture treatment, as well as to the reasonableness of the past medical bills. Plaintiff’s counsel asked the jury to award Cregg $287,433 in total damages, including $15,545 for past medical expenses, $30,000 for future medical expenses, $62,600 in damages for past pain and suffering, and $16 in damages per day for future pain and suffering for as many days as the jury felt reasonable. Counsel displayed for the jury what those future numbers would be for five years ($29,200) up to 30 years ($178,288). Cregg waived her loss-of-earnings claim prior to trial. Defense counsel disputed the nature and extent of Cregg’s damages. Counsel argued that Cregg only received strains and strains, at most, which would have alleviated themselves with minor treatment and therapy. The defense’s expert orthopedic surgeon opined that the accident was a substantial factor in causing the pain alleged by Cregg and agreed that Cregg had chronic neck pain. However, the expert opined that the cervical disc protrusions were not caused by the accident but were degenerative in nature. The defense’s expert also opined that if Cregg sustained any injury at all from the subject accident, it was nothing more than minor strains and that Cregg only needed 12 chiropractic visits and six acupuncture visits.
Superior Court of Los Angeles County, Van Nuys, CA

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