Case details

Second crash exacerbated injuries from first crash: plaintiff





Result type

Not present

back, bulging disc, cervical, cervical chest, depression, emotional distress, head, headaches neck, herniated disc, lumbar, mental, neck, neurological, psychological, radiculopathy, strain
On Dec.13, 2006, plaintiff Debra Bradshaw, 55, a child care provider, was driving a 2002 Acura 3.2 TL on Interstate 80 in Fairfield, when she was struck by a Mercedes operated by Andrew Baker. A week later, on Dec. 20, 2006, Bradshaw’s 2002 Acura 3.2 TL was again struck. She was seated in her vehicle in the parking lot of Elk Grove Toyota when the front of her vehicle was struck by Richard Onia, a maintenance service worker who was driving a 2005 Toyota/Scion XB. As a result, Bradshaw claimed new and a further exacerbation of her from the initial accident. Bradshaw sued Baker, Onia and Onia’s employers, Snider Motors Inc. and Elk Grove Toyota. She alleged that Baker and Onia were negligent in the operation of their respective vehicles, and that Snider Motors and Elk Grove were vicariously liable for Onia’s actions. In regards to the accident on Dec. 13, 2006, Baker stipulated to liability at trial. Onia, however, disputed liability for the accident that was on Dec. 20, 2006. Onia’s accident reconstruction and biomechanics expert opined that Bradshaw was comparatively at fault for that accident., Bradshaw claimed a cervical disc bulge and protrusion at C3-4, chronic neck pain, cervical strain, cervical myospasms, radiculopathy to her dominant right shoulder and arm, wrist pain, radiculopathy to the right leg, chest pain and abdominal pain. She also claimed lumbar and thoracic disc herniation at T12-L1, as well as chronic back pain, lumbar strain, lumbar myospasms. and headaches. She further claimed she suffered depression and emotional distress as a result of the accidents. Bradshaw claimed that she was permanently disabled, and would need care and assistance for the remainder of her life. Thus, she claimed past medical costs of $36,975.67. The plaintiff’s expert in life care planning opined that Bradshaw’s future economic costs would be either $498,483.47 or $383,904.67 with 13 or 27 years of conservative treatment, respectively. The plaintiff’s vocational assessment testified that Bradshaw’s past and future lost income was estimated at $85,000. Bradshaw also claimed a loss of future household services in the amount of $220,000, past pain and suffering of $120,000 and future pain and suffering of $720,000. According to plaintiff’s counsel, defense counsel accused Bradshaw of fraud despite the fact that the defense’s orthopedic surgery expert and another physician who performed an independent medical exam for the defense found Bradshaw to be injured and that her treatment was necessary. Defense counsel noted that Baker’s Mercedes was totaled, while the damage to Bradshaw’s Acura was estimated at $4,600. The defense’s expert in biomechanics testified to the dynamics and forces of the accident on Dec.13, 2006. The evidence presented established that the impact speed to Bradshaw’s vehicle was 10 to 12 mph with a resultant Delta-v, or change in velocity, of 4.8 to 6.0. The biomechanics expert opined that this level of force was within the range of where a minor strain/sprain to the musculature would be expected. Defense counsel also presented evidence that the forces were insufficient to cause a new or exaggerated disc herniation at C3-4. Onia’s accident reconstruction and biomechanics expert also presented evidence that the Delta-v was within a range of 2.3 to 4.5, well below the threshold to even have an injury as a result of the accident on Dec. 20, 2006. The defense’s vocational rehabilitation expert testified that there was no evidence of permanent impairment and that Bradshaw should require no future services. The expert also testified that there was some evidence of time off that was allowed by Bradshaw’s healthcare providers, but that she should not recover any more than the six to eight weeks documented by her providers.
Superior Court of Sacramento County, Sacramento, CA

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