Case details

Rear-end collision caused lower back injury, plaintiff alleged





Result type

Not present

back, neck, stenosis
On Dec. 8, 2014, plaintiff Ashley Chelonis, 33, an instructional trainer at Moorpark College, was driving on westbound State Route 118, also known as the Ronald Reagan Freeway, when her vehicle was rear-ended by a vehicle operated by Sandra Hekking. Chelonis claimed an injury to her back. Chelonis sued Sandra Hekking and the co-owner of Ms. Hekking’s vehicle, Hans Hekking. Chelonis alleged that Ms. Hekking was negligent in the operation of her vehicle and that Mr. Hekking was vicariously liable for Ms. Hekking’s actions. The Hekkings admitted liability one month before the trial., Chelonis claimed that she mostly suffered from right-sided lumbar stenosis at the L4-5 level as a result of the accident. She underwent 75 physical therapy sessions, and received facet and epidural injections during the next three years. Chelonis ultimately underwent micro-decompression surgery at L4-5 3.5 years after the crash. Chelonis continued working after the accident, but she claimed she has lingering and constant pain in her lower back. She also claimed she was recommended for artificial disc replacement surgery at the L4-5 level. Chelonis sought recovery of past and future medical costs, and damages for her past and future pain and suffering. Defense counsel noted that Chelonis’ vehicle only sustained $100 in property damage. Counsel also contended that reasonable treatment for Chelonis’ alleged injury was 20 physical therapy visits. Based on their medical expert’s findings, defense counsel argued that Chelonis was lying to her doctors and exaggerating her alleged pain. Defense counsel asked the jury to only award Chelonis $20,000 in total damages.
Superior Court of Los Angeles County, Los Angeles, CA

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