Case details

Rear-ender aggravated prior shoulder injury, plaintiff claimed





Result type

Not present

aggravation of pre-existing condition shoulder, back, injury, neck, rotator cuff, soft tissue, tear
At approximately 9 a.m. on Jan. 20, 2011, plaintiff Eduardo Sanchez, 63, a general contractor, was driving his truck south on Highway 13 in Oakland when he entered the off-ramp of the Park Boulevard exit and was rear-ended by a vehicle operated by Eric Tsuchimoto. Sanchez claimed to his neck, back and left shoulder. Sanchez sued Tsuchimoto and the believed owner of the vehicle, Robert Gillooly. He alleged that Tsuchimoto was negligent in the operation of her vehicle and that Gillooly was vicariously liable for her actions. However, Gillooly was ultimately dismissed from the case prior to trial. Sanchez claimed that his vehicle sustained damage to the rear bumper. Thus, he claimed that Tsuchimoto failed to keep a proper lookout and avoid the crash. Tsuchimoto admitted liability for the accident, and the matter proceeded to a trial on causation and damages., Nine days after the accident, Sanchez went to a chiropractor with complaints of back and neck pain, and was diagnosed with soft-tissue strains and sprains to his neck and back. Sanchez also claimed he aggravated a pre-existing rotator cuff tear to his left, non-dominant shoulder. He subsequently treated his with chiropractic care for approximately four months. The plaintiff’s biomechanical expert testified that Sanchez’s truck was 14 years old at the time of the accident and had in excess of 400,000 miles on it at the time, which presumably contributed to the collapse of the driver seat. Thus, the expert opined that there was a mechanism for injury because Sanchez’s seatback broke in the accident. Sanchez claimed he stopped working after completing one final project on a bathroom remodeling after the accident. He alleged that as a result of his shoulder injury, he is no longer able to engage in baseball activities with his son. Thus, he sought recovery of $2,700 in damages for his chiropractic bills, $18,000 in damages for his future medical costs that include a rotator cuff surgery, $40,000 in damages for his past lost earnings, $2,500 in damages for his future lost earnings, and $48,000 in damages for his past and future pain and suffering. The defense’s biomechanical expert opined that there were insufficient forces to Sanchez’s left shoulder to have been able to cause any injury. Defense counsel also argued, through testimony of medical experts, that the rotator cuff tear pre-existed the accident and that there was no medical evidence of an aggravation of that injury.
Superior Court of Alameda County, Oakland, CA

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