Defense Verdict in Rear-end Accident Case

John Farmer was recently successful in obtaining a defense verdict on behalf of his client in a rear-end freeway accident case, tried to a jury in Victorville. Plaintiff contended she had been travelling in the #1 lane of the I-15 freeway for several miles and was slowing for traffic ahead, when her vehicle was rear-ended by the defendant’s vehicle and pushed into the vehicle ahead. The defendant contended plaintiff made an abrupt lane change in front of his vehicle just before the collision, then braked hard, giving him insufficient time to slow or stop to avoid the collision.

Plaintiff had extensive medical treatment, including multiple MRI’s, three epidurals and two “percutaneous disc decompression (PDD)” surgeries performed by pain management specialist Dr. Van Vu of Fountain Valley, all on referral by her attorney. Plaintiff’s trial expert, neurosurgeon Jeffrey Gross, MD, testified plaintiff’s medicals of approximately $120,000 were reasonable, necessary and related to the accident, and that plaintiff was a candidate for future cervical and lumbar fusions, due to the accident, at a projected cost of $350-400,000. A loss of present and future earnings from a job as a forklift operator at Home Depot, was also alleged. Defense expert, orthopedist Steven Nagleberg, MD, testified that plaintiff should have had medical treatment for a few weeks, valued at around $4,000. He testified the treatment with Dr. Vu was not medically indicated or necessary, and plaintiff is not a future surgical candidate.

The jury disbelieved the version of the accident provided by plaintiff and her witness, and commented after the verdict that had they found liability, they would not have awarded much money to the plaintiff.