Orthopedic lumbar injuries disputed in rear-ender. $2.8 million. Sacramento County.

Summary

Physically active woman is rear-ended by truck. Liability admitted but defense disputes the lower back injury and future medical claim.

The Case

  • Case Name: Allison Jean Bradley v. Bassco, Inc
  • Court and Case Number: Superior Court of Sacramento County / 34-2013-00149232-CU-PA-GDS
  • Date of Verdict or Judgment: Friday, June 03, 2016
  • Type of Action: Vehicles – rear-ender
  • Judge or Arbitrator(s): Hon. Judith H. Hersher
  • Plaintiffs:
    Allison Jean Bradley, 26, dog groomer/trainer.
  • Type of Result: Jury Verdict

The Result

  • Gross Verdict or Award: $2,894,226.73
  • Economic Damages:

    Past wage loss: $16,045

    Past medical cost: $99,428.47

    Future medical cost: $903,753.26

  • Non-Economic Damages:

    Past pain and suffering: $125,000

    Future pain and suffering: $1,750,000

  • Trial or Arbitration Time: 2 weeks.
  • Jury Deliberation Time: 2 days.
  • Jury Polls: 12-0 causation.

The Attorneys

  • Attorney for the Plaintiff:

    Dreyer, Babich, Buccola Wood & Campora, LLP by Jason J. Sigel and Ryan L. Dostart, Sacramento.

  • Attorney for the Defendant:

    Lewis, Brisbois, Bisgaard & Smith by Joseph A. Salazar, Jr. and Joann M.O. Rangel, Sacramento.

The Experts

  • Plaintiff’s Medical Expert(s):

    Carol Hyland, MA, MS, cost of medical care, Lafayette.

    Stephen Longoria, DDS, dentistry, Folsom.

    Ardavan Aslie, M.D., orthopedic surgery, Sacramento.

    Vinay Reddy, M.D., pain management, Sacramento.

  • Defendant's Medical Expert(s):

    Edward Younger, III, M.D., orthopedic surgery, Sacramento.

Facts and Background

  • Facts and Background:

    On April 15, 2013, plaintiff  was in her vehicle stopped for traffic on Hazel Avenue, north of its intersection with Greenback Lane, in Sacramento County.  Charles Scheulke, driving a Ford F-250 pickup hauling two tons of equipment on a trailer, was in the course and scope of his employment for defendant Bassco Services, Inc. northbound on Hazel Avenue. 

    Defendant driver failed to stop for the traffic in front of him and collided with the rear of plaintiff’s vehicle.  As a result of the accident, plaintiff sustained injuries to her teeth, face, neck, shoulders, back, hips, and knees.  

  • Plaintiff's Contentions:

    That the negligent driving of Bassco employee caused the accident and all of plaintiff's claimed injuries.

    In response to defense contentions, plaintiff argued that her low back complaints started soon after the accident despite their absence from the initial medical records. She also claimed that she would require future pain management epidural injection therapy and a future L5-S1 global fusion surgery.

    Bradley argued that she was unable to return to her pre-accident activities, including trail-running, hiking, and weight-lifting. Plaintiff did not present a claim for future lost wages or loss of earning capacity.

  • Defendant's Contentions:

    Bassco conceded that the dental and facial injuries were related to the collision but argued that Bradley’s orthopedic injuries were not caused in the accident. 

    At trial, defendant employer Bassco stressed the fact that no low back complaints were documented in the ambulance report and emergency room records on the day of the accident.  Low back complaints were not mentioned in the primary care and physical therapy records until six weeks after the accident. 

    Bassco conducted over 60 hours of surveillance of plaintiff and produced video of her at the gym on an elliptical trainer, carrying bags of groceries, and taking 90-minute walks to emphasize to the jury that she was not a surgical candidate. 

    Defendants disputed that the need for future orthopedic medical care was caused by the collision. The defendant's orthopedic surgeon testified that he could not relate plaintiff’s low back injury, and need for surgery, to the subject accident.

    Bassco also argued that plaintiff’s attorneys were the driving force behind her ongoing treatment and the future medical care that her doctors recommended – doctors to whom plaintiff was referred by her lawyers and who were treating her on a lien basis.

Injuries and Other Damages

  • Physical Injuries claimed by Plaintiff:

    After the accident, plaintiff treated with her dentist, primary care physician, and physical therapist.  She subsequently treated with a pain management specialist and received a consult with an orthopedic surgeon and a second opinion from a neurosurgeon.

    Plaintiff underwent two bone grafts on her lower jaw followed by dental implant surgery. Ultimately, she received a permanent five-tooth prosthetic bridge.

    Plaintiff also required injection therapy for her low back injury, including three lumbar spine epidural steroid injections and one round of lumbar facet injections. She also utilized anti-inflammatory medications in the years following the vehicle accident. 

    Plaintiff’s treating pain management doctor testified that plaintiff would require future injection therapy and her treating orthopedic surgeon testified that she would require a future global fusion at L5-S1.

Demands and Offers

  • Plaintiff §998 Demand: $1,000,000
  • Defendant Final Offer before Trial: $350,000

Additional Notes

Insurers:

Great American Insurance Company and Mid-Continent Casualty Insurance for Bassco Services, Inc.

Disclaimer

This is not an official court document. While the publisher believes the information to be accurate, the publisher does not guarantee it and the reader is advised not to rely upon it without consulting the official court documents or the attorneys of record in this matter who are listed above.

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