Case details

Rear-ender caused L5-S1 disc herniation, plaintiff claimed





Result type

Not present

back, bruise, herniated disc, leg, neck, nerve impingement, neurological, right shin
On Oct. 15, 2010, at approximately 3:15 p.m., plaintiff Moises Herrera, 44, a laborer, was driving in lane 5 on the 210 Freeway. When he was near the Mountain View exit, Herrera slowed down for approaching traffic and was rear-ended by a tractor-trailer truck operated by Robert Durio. Herrera claimed to his neck, back, and right shin. Herrera sued Durio and the owner of the tractor-trailer, High Country Transportation, which was also Durio’s employer. Herrera alleged that Durio was negligent in the operation of the tractor-trailer and that High Country was vicariously liable for Durio’s actions through the course and scope of his work for the company. Specifically, Herrera contended that Durio was inattentive to slowing traffic on the 210 Freeway, causing Durio to impact his vehicle at a high rate of speed (resulting in a Delta-V of 25). The defendants admitted liability on the first day of trial, and the matter proceeded to assess causation and damages., Herrera was extricated from his vehicle and taken by ambulance to an emergency room, where he presented with complaints of neck and back pain, as well as a bruise to his right shin. He subsequently underwent a CT scan, which he claimed revealed a 5.4-millimeter herniated disc at L5-S1 with nerve root impingement. Herrera originally treated with physical therapy for six months, which he claimed resolved everything except his lower back injury. He then began treating with an orthopedist and had two sets of epidural injections. On Feb. 14, 2013, Herrera underwent a microdiscectomy at L4-5 and L5-S1. Herrera claimed that the surgery relieved all of his impinging nerve roots and that he is now 90 to 95 percent healed from his . However, he claimed he now uses guarded motion, as any overexertion or heavy lifting flares up his lower back condition. Herrera missed 11 weeks of work, which he claimed resulted in $5,000 in lost earnings. He also sought recovery of $170,000 in past medical costs and $175,000 in damages for his pain and suffering. Defense counsel disputed the nature and extent of Herrera’s alleged and damages. Counsel argued that the CT scan did not reveal a herniation, but rather a bony abnormality consistent with a long-term degenerative process (osteophyte). The defense’s expert orthopedic surgeon opined that the accident did not cause any serious injury to Herrera’s lower back and that all of spinal were soft-tissue strains and sprains.
Superior Court of Los Angeles County, Los Angeles, CA

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