Case details

Plaintiffs: Trucker’s speed and closeness caused crash





Result type

Not present

back, brain, brain injury, cervical, cognition, fracture, fusion, language, lumbar, mental, neck, psychological, sensory, speech, strain, traumatic brain injury
On April 16, 2018, plaintiff Alfredo Perez-Fuentes, 53, a farm worker, was driving his subcompact vehicle in the number two, northbound lane of State Route 1, in Santa Cruz County, with plaintiff Alfredo Perez-Arguello, 31, unemployed, sitting in the front passenger seat. When traffic in front of them came to a stop, Perez-Fuentes stopped his vehicle 0.3 miles south of Larkin Valley Road. While stopped, his vehicle was rear-ended by a loaded tractor-trailer operated by Luis Villagran-Rubio. The impact crushed Perez-Fuentes’ vehicle in an accordion fashion, causing the trunk of the vehicle to intrude into the back seat. The vehicle was then pushed into a truck trailer that was stopped in front of the vehicle containing Perez-Fuentes and Perez-Arguello, who were both wearing their lap belts and shoulder harnesses. Other vehicles received damage, as well. Perez-Fuentes claimed neck and back . Perez-Arguello claimed head and back . Perez-Fuentes and Perez-Arguello sued Villagran-Rubio and the owner of Villagran-Rubio’s truck, Norman’s Nursery Inc. Perez-Fuentes and Perez-Arguello alleged that Villagran-Rubio was negligent in the operation of his truck and that Norman’s Nursery was vicariously liable for Villagran-Rubio’s actions. Plaintiffs’ counsel contended that Villagran-Rubio violated California Vehicle Code § 22350, which was for driving at a high speed that endangered the safety of persons, as well as CVC § 21703, which was for following too closely., Perez-Fuentes and Perez-Arguello were both taken to a hospital. Perez-Fuentes was diagnosed with cervical strains, lumbar strains, and aggravations of his pre-existing cervical disc degeneration and pre-existing lumbar spine disability. He treated conservatively with a pain management physician and received physical therapy for six weeks. Perez-Fuentes claimed he continues to suffer from cervical and lumbar pain. He further alleged that he will need future conservative treatment, including physical therapy and pain management. Perez-Fuentes sought recovery of $58,627 in past medical expenses, an estimated $55,000 in future medical costs and an estimated $55,000 in past wage loss. He additionally sought recovery of damages for his past and future pain and suffering. Perez-Arguello was diagnosed with a traumatic brain injury. He was previously disabled from birth with epileptic seizures, and claimed his seizures increased after the collision. He was also diagnosed with lumbar fractures at L1 and L2, and claimed chronic back pain. He underwent surgery of his lumbar spine to stabilize the fractured vertebrae consisting of a lumbar fusion at T12-L1 and L1-2. Perez-Arguello claimed he continued to experience memory problems and persistent back pain, which has been treated conservatively with physical therapy. He also alleged the need for future treatment for his brain injury, consisting of cognitive therapy and speech therapy, as well as treatment for his epilepsy. Perez-Arguello sought recovery of $880,382 in past medical expenses and an estimated $547,000 in future medical expenses. He also sought recovery of damages for his past and future pain and suffering. It is further anticipated that he will need a protected living environment that may exceed $5 million.
Superior Court of Santa Cruz County, Santa Cruz, CA

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