California State Jury Awards Couple $2,331,075.08 For Rear-End Collision That Caused Their Vehicle To Spin Into Oncoming Traffic
On Nov. 1, 2013, plaintiffs Alfred Sanchez, 48, a construction worker, and Ana Maria Sanchez, 45, a part-time food service employee, were rear-ended while traveling eastbound on Interstate 10 near Yucaipa Blvd., located in Yucaipa, CA. The Sanchez vehicle hit the center divider, spun around and ended up in a position that was perpendicular to oncoming traffic. Alfred Sanchez claimed injuries of the neck, lower back and right foot. Ana Maria Sanchez claimed injuries of the neck, lower back and mid-back/intercostal region.
On June 30, 2014, plaintiffs filed an action in the California Superior Court for San Bernardino County. They asserted negligence claims against the driver of the other motor vehicle, Steve Lawrence Rivera, and his employer, County of San Bernardino. The action proceeded to a jury trial that was presided over by Judge Michael A. Sachs. According to information provided by plaintiffs' counsel, liability was conceded and the matter was tried on damages only.
Plaintiffs asserted that Mrs. Sanchez' s abdominal pain was intercostal neuralgia caused by the accident. Mrs. Sanchez had four nerve blocks and two radiofrequency ablations performed to alleviate this pain. Plaintiffs argued that Mrs. Sanchez would have pain for the rest of her life and that either continued radiofrequency ablations or a spinal cord stimulator was the appropriate remedy. Mrs. Sanchez' future care recommendations also included a discogram and anterior cervical discectomy and fusion (ACDF) for her cervical spine and for an annular tear at L3-L4 and stenosis at L4-L5 requiring microdecompression surgery.
Defendants countered, arguing that Mrs. Sanchez's neuralgia was caused by shingles. In addition, the defense argued that if Mrs. Sanchez did need future care for her mid-back/abdominal pain for the rest of her life, then pain medication/opiates would be the appropriate treatment. Moreover, the defense argued that the cervical and lumbar future care recommendations were not necessitated by the motor vehicle accident. Finally, the defense challenged the amount of Plaintiffs' medical bills.
On Jan. 6, 2017, the jury reached a verdict in plaintiffs' favor, awarding them a total of $2,331,075.08.
Plaintiffs were represented by Andrew Ellis and Britt Karp of Ellis Law Corporation. Defendants were represented by Adam Miederhoff of San Bernardino County Counsel.
Lexis Advance subscribers may view the complete summary, including expert witness information, here: Alfred Sanchez and Ana Maria Sanchez v. Steve Lawrence Rivera and County of San Bernardino; 2017 Jury Verdicts LEXIS 108.
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