Case details

Plaintiff’s unannounced stop caused crash, defense argued





Result type

Not present

cognition, eye, head, headaches knee, impairment, mental, neurological, neurological impairment, nystagmus, psychological, sensory, speech, vision
At approximately 4:30 p.m. on June 23, 2009, plaintiff John Sain, a retired 70 year old, was driving his van north on Oswell Street in Bakersfield, having just turned right from the State Route 178 off-ramp, when he was rear-ended by Janice Bryant’s vehicle, south of Auburn Street. Sain claimed to his neck, back and knees, as well as neurological . Sain sued Bryant and the owner of the vehicle, her husband, Bruce Bryant. He alleged that Mrs. Bryant was negligent in the operation of her vehicle and that her husband was vicariously liable for her actions. Mr. Bryant was dismissed prior to trial with an agreement that any judgment against Mrs. Bryant would be enforceable against him up to the amount of $15,000. Sain claimed that he came to a stop in the middle of Oswell Street due to traffic from the far left-hand lane cutting into his far right-hand lane. He alleged that there was physical damage to his car and that the accident occurred as a result of the defendants’ negligence, claiming that Mrs. Bryant’s said she was distracted and looking in her rearview mirror immediately before the accident. Mrs. Bryant claimed that she attempted to apply her brakes when Sain made an unannounced stop in the middle of Oswell Street, but that she was unsuccessful in avoiding impact with the rear of the plaintiff’s vehicle. She also denied telling Sain that she was distracted and looking in her rearview mirror prior to the collision. Mrs. Bryant further claimed that after the accident, she looked in front of Sain’s vehicle to try and see the reason why he stopped, but that she did not see anything that would have necessitated such a stop. Instead, she alleged that there were approximately two vehicle-lengths ahead of Sain’s car between where he stopped and the next car ahead of him at the stop light. Mrs. Bryant claimed that she and Sain then returned to their vehicles and pulled into a Carl’s Jr. parking lot, where they examined the vehicles and she saw that there was no damage to either vehicle. However, she claimed that Sain asserted there was damage to his car and suggested that she pay him money to avoid going through their insurance companies. Mrs. Bryant stated that she was offended and refused the offer, and told Sain she was going to her nearby home to get a camera, but that when she returned to the parking lot, Sain had left the scene. Sain disputed Mrs. Bryant’s claim about asking her to pay him money in the parking lot to avoid going through their insurance companies., Sain first sought treatment two weeks after the accident, at a regularly scheduled appointment with his chiropractor. He claimed he suffered to his neck, back and knees as a result of the accident. He also attributed various neurological complaints to the accident, including feelings of paresthesia, which is a sensation of numbness or tingling on the skin, as well as a “flickering” of light behind his eyes that appears to him like a broken television set. He also complained of excessive blinking of his eyes, memory loss, headaches and nystagmus, a condition involving voluntary or involuntary eye movement. In addition to treating with his chiropractor, Sain also treated with an orthopedist and neurologist from 2009 through 2010. Sain claimed his prevented him from engaging in exercising, specifically walking approximately three miles per day. Thus, he claimed approximately $20,000 in past medical costs, and asked the jury for $25,000 in pain-and-suffering damages and roughly $1,000 in property damage. The defense’s expert orthopedic surgeon performed an independent medical examination of Sain and concluded that the plaintiff’s were not caused by any traumatic event, but were rather the result of longstanding degenerative osteoarthritis. The expert also claimed that Sain’s complaints did not match up with his objective symptoms, and that the plaintiff had a longstanding history of neck and back pain going back over 20 years. Defense counsel also called the plaintiff’s treating neurologist, who testified that Sain’s injury complaints were consistent with an individual who suffered a likely birth injury or was exhibiting a form of cerebral palsy. Counsel contended that the neurologist’s examination of the plaintiff, including a MRI of his brain, did not find any focal findings that would suggest his neurological complaints were related to the subject accident.
Superior Court of Kern County, Bakersfield, CA

Recommended Experts


Get a FREE consultation for your case