Case details

Rear-ender caused neck and back injuries, plaintiff alleged





Result type

Not present

back, closed head injury, head, herniated disc, neck, neurological, radicular pain, radiculitis
In or around 2016, plaintiff Jesse Arnett Bias, 41, a truck driver, was driving on northbound Interstate 5, in Kern County, when his semi-truck, which was pulling a utility trailer, was rear-ended by a semi-truck being operated by Jose Hernandez Lopez. Bias claimed to his head, neck, and back. Bias sued Lopez and the owner of Lopez’s truck, Lopez’s employer, Phoenix Group Inc. Bias alleged that Lopez was negligent in the operation of his semi-truck and that Phoenix Group was liable for Lopez’s actions. Phoenix Group was determined to be a suspended corporation, and the court entered a default judgment against it. Bias claimed that Lopez was driving his truck in excess of 75 mph when he collided into the rear of his vehicle. Lopez conceded negligence., Bias declined medical attention at the scene. Three days later, he presented to a workers’ compensation doctor three days with complaints of headaches, and pain in his neck and back. Bias was diagnosed with a closed head injury as a result of his head hitting the headrest, which then shattered the rear-window of his cab. He was also diagnosed with a sprains to each shoulder, a herniated cervical disc at the C3-4 level, and a herniated lumbar disc at the L5-S1 level. He also claimed radicular pain from his lower back into both legs. Bias initially underwent a course of conservative treatments, including physical therapy twice a week for five months, chiropractic care twice a week for four months, and two epidural injections into his lumbar spine. However, he claimed he continued to experience pain. As a result, Bias underwent a microdiscectomy at the L5-S1 level in 2016 to decompress the 6 to 7 millimeter herniated disc that was compressing the S1 nerve root. The plaintiff’s treating spinal surgeon opined that Bias’ were caused by the collision. Bias claimed that despite undergoing conservative treatment and surgery, he continues to experience constant residual pain. He alleged that as a result, he has difficulty performing most activities of daily living. Thus, Bias sought recovery of past medical costs, and damages for his past pain and suffering. Defense counsel noted that Bias declined medical care at the scene and presented to a doctor three days later. Thus, counsel argued that Bias’ neck and lower back complaints were not caused by the collision and were, instead, pre-existing conditions. The defense’s expert neuroradiologist opined that Bias’ spinal were pre-existing. He also opined that Bias only sustained soft tissue that fully healed two weeks after the collision.
Superior Court of Kern County, Kern, CA

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