Case details

Rear-end crash caused thoracic injury, plaintiff alleged





Result type

Not present

annular tear, back, disc protrusion, fusion, herniated disc, neck, thoracic
On Feb. 11, 2008, plaintiff Eduardo Del Toro, 28, a construction worker, was driving his pickup truck east on Elder Creek Road in Sacramento. At approximately 11 a.m., while stopped behind a Sacramento County garbage truck, he was rear-ended by a pickup truck operated by Ambrosio Ramirez Franco. Del Toro claimed the accident caused an injury to his back. Del Toro sued Franco, alleging that the defendant was negligent in the operation of his vehicle. Specifically, he claimed that Franco was inattentive and impacted his vehicle at a speed of 25 mph. Franco admitted liability, and the matter proceeded to a trial on causation and damages., Del Toro did not claim any injury at the scene, but after experiencing pain in his mid-back, started a course of chiropractic care on Feb. 27, 2008. He treated with 30 visits and was released from care on July 14, 2008. On Jan. 19, 2009, Del Toro underwent an MRI that revealed thoracic protrusions at T6-7 and followed up with physical therapy through August 2009. He then underwent another thoracic MRI on Oct. 15, 2007, and had a discogram that showed an annular tear at T6-7 on May 17, 2011. Del Toro subsequently underwent a T6-7 fusion surgery on July 13, 2011. Del Toro has not returned to work since the surgery. He claimed he still deals with minor residuals in his back, restricting him from horse riding, soccer and playing with his grandchildren. Thus, he asked the jury to award damages consisting of $152,000 for past medical costs, $130,000 for future medical costs, $23,000 for past lost earnings, $100,000 for future lost earnings, $116,800 for past pain and suffering, and $127,500 for future pain and suffering. Defense counsel disputed the nature and extent of Del Toro’s and damages. Counsel argued that the accident was of insufficient force to create a thoracic injury at T6-7 and that the plaintiff only suffered soft-tissue , which should have resolved after the initial chiropractic care and physical therapy. Defense counsel noted that Del Toro had significant gaps in treatment, and argued that the surgery was not reasonable or necessary.
Superior Court of Sacramento County, Sacramento, CA

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