Case details

Rear-ender caused lower back injuries, plaintiff claimed





Result type

Not present

back, herniated disc
On July 14, 2010, plaintiff Nicole Gillespie, 41, a hairdresser, stopped her station wagon at a red light on northbound Muirlands Boulevard, at the intersection with Alicia Parkway in Mission Viejo, when she was rear-ended by a sport utility vehicle operated by Danny Joe Truax. Gillespie claimed to her upper and lower back. Gillespie sued Truax. She alleged the defendant was negligent in the operation of his vehicle. Specifically, Gillespie claimed that Truax was driving inattentively, and failed to slow and stop his vehicle in time to avoid the impact. Truax admitted liability, and the matter proceeded to a trial on causation and damages., On the evening of the accident, Gillespie was taken by her daughter to an emergency room, where she complained of upper and lower back pain. She subsequently underwent an MRI, which revealed lumbar disc herniations at L4-5 and L5-S1. After visiting with an orthopedic surgeon, Gillespie underwent some chiropractic care, which she claimed failed. She then treated with epidural injections to her lower back. Gillespie claimed that she still experiences residual symptoms and will eventually require either a lumbar fusion or a discectomy. Thus, she claimed $650,000 in total damages, including $69,392.58 in past medical costs; $90,00 to $220,000 for future medical costs, depending on whether she had a fusion or discectomy, respectively; and an unspecified amount for her past and future pain and suffering. Defense counsel disputed the nature and extent of Gillespie’s . He contended that the plaintiff merely suffered soft-tissue that should have resolved within six weeks. Defense counsel further contended that Gillespie’s disc herniations were pre-existing, degenerative conditions.
Superior Court of Orange County, Santa Ana, CA

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