Case details

Rear-ender caused need for future back surgeries: plaintiff





Result type

Not present

back, fusion, herniated disc, lumbar
On March 30, 2018, claimant Michael Gogue, 59, a warehouse worker and an Uber driver, was driving on Corral Hollow Road, in the city of Tracy, in San Joaquin County. He was on his way to pick up an Uber passenger when his vehicle was rear-ended by an underinsured driver. Gogue claimed to his neck. The other motorist’s insurer tendered its $15,000 policy limit. Gogue then sought further recovery via the supplementary-underinsured-motorist provision of his own insurance policy, which was administered by James River Insurance Co. The matter proceeded to a binding arbitration., Gogue was taken to a hospital, where he complained of pain in his neck and back. He claimed his back injury included a herniated lumbar disc at the L4-5 level. However, he admitted that his neck injury was insignificant and that it ultimately resolved. Gogue underwent conservative treatment, but after he allegedly had no relief in his lower back, he underwent an L4-5 lumbar fusion in May 2019. Gogue claimed that the fusion surgery did not fully unionize his spine and that as a result, he will need at least two future surgeries. Gogue sought recovery of past and future medical costs, and damages for his past and future pain and suffering. The insurer’s counsel contended that Gogue’s pain was caused by a preexisting, degenerative disc condition and that Gogue had a long history of opioid medication intake prior to the collision. Counsel also contended that Gogue’s lumbar fusion surgery was not related to the subject collision, and suggested that Gogue was only seeing doctors to obtain more opioid medications.
Judicate West, CA

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