Monterey Car Accident Lawyers at PLG Obtain $250,000 Settlement for Client Involved in Low Impact Car Accident
The Monterey car accident attorneys at Piccuta Law Group have obtained another impressive settlement. This time it was for a client who was involved in a low impact, rear end, car accident in Salinas. The crash resulted in little to no damage to the vehicles. Nevertheless, the car accident attorneys at the Piccuta Law Group were able to obtain a quarter million-dollar settlement from the insurance company of the at-fault driver.
The client had a pre-existing neck condition. Our attorneys presented the claim in a way that showed the insurance company that the low forces caused by the crash were enough to injure our client. This was accomplished by providing evidence that showed that the client did not have problems before the crash but had symptoms and complaints after.
What made the settlement even more impressive was the fact that our Monterey car accident attorneys were able to obtain the settlement quickly. In this case, the personal injury settlement was obtained without filing a lawsuit. It is unusual to obtain maximum value for a car accident case without filing a lawsuit. However, our car accident attorneys were able to do so because of their reputation and results. Our car accident attorneys regularly take cases to trial and win. The insurance company knew that and paid a fair amount at the onset. As a result, the client received her settlement funds quickly and without having to wait years for a lawsuit to resolve.
The Facts of the Monterey Car Accident Case
On February 15, 2019, the client was traveling eastbound on Work Street and was approaching the intersection with South Sanborn Road in Salinas, California. As the client approached the intersection, she was facing a red light and eased her vehicle to a stop. At that time, a teenage driver was heading east on Work Street. As he approached the client from the rear he failed to stop. Instead of safely bringing his car to a halt, he crashed into the back of the client’s vehicle.
Immediately prior to the impact, the client caught a glimpse of the at-fault driver in her peripheral view of the rearview mirror. This caused the client to look up and to the right, which left her head and neck in a more compromised position. The crash caused the client’s head to snap back into the headrest and to then whip forward at an awkward angle. This resulted in a severe case of what is commonly referred to as whiplash.
The shock of the collision somewhat masked the client’s pain levels. The client was unaware of the full extent of her injuries immediately after the crash. She did not seek out medical attention right away or ask to be transported by an ambulance. Instead, she went directly home and attempted to self-treat with rest, ice and over-the-counter pain medication. However, her condition soon began to worsen. Later that night, the client started to experience a throbbing pain that radiated from her neck down through her back. In the next couple days, the client also noticed that she could not perform daily tasks without experiencing pain in her neck and back. Further, her pain levels began to interfere with her sleep. As a result, it became necessary for the client to seek medical attention.
Liability and Fault for the Motor Vehicle Accident
Our Monterey car accident attorneys were able to eliminate fault as an issue in the case. The evidence established that the teenage driver was negligent in that he failed to use reasonable care in the operation of his vehicle. In addition, he was negligent per se for violating multiple sections of the California Vehicle Code.
The teenage driver caused the collision in violation of CVC § 22350 in that he was driving at an unsafe speed for traffic conditions. This vehicle code sections sets forth:
“No person shall drive a vehicle upon a highway at a speed greater than is reasonable or prudent having due regard for weather, visibility, the traffic on, and the surface and width of, the highway, and in no event at a speed which endangers the safety of persons or property.”
The teenage driver also failed to conform to CVC § 21703, which states that “[t]he driver of a motor vehicle shall not follow another vehicle more closely than is reasonable and prudent, having due regard for the speed of such vehicle and the traffic upon, and the condition of, the roadway.” Finally, the teenage driver failed to comply with CVC § 23123, which prohibits a person from using a cell phone while driving. In fact, after the collision, the teenage driver admitted to the client that he had been talking on his cell phone as he approached the intersection.
The Injuries Caused by the Car Accident and the Medical Treatment
In the days following the car accident the client presented to a chiropractor, complaining of lower back pain, upper back pain and neck pain. She was also experiencing stiffness and a decreased range of motion throughout her neck and back. During this initial evaluation, the client explained: 1) that she could only lift very light weights at most; 2) that her pain prevented her from sitting for more than one hour; and 3) that her pain was gradually worsening. The client was diagnosed with strains and sprains in her neck and upper back and spasms and tightness in her lower back.
The client was started on a chiropractic treatment plan that included manual therapy, manipulations and therapeutic exercises. However, after months of treatment, the client could still not lift heavy weights and experienced pain when attempting recreational activities. She then attempted physical therapy for several months. The physical therapy reduced her pain symptoms but did not alleviate them.
Diagnostic studies were performed which showed that the client suffered from multiple level disc degeneration in her cervical spine. In simple terms, the client was diagnosed with an aging and arthritic spine in the area of her neck. This is not uncommon for someone like the client who was in her sixties.
While the car crash may not have caused the client’s condition, what it did do was take her asymptomatic condition and transform it into a painful and debilitating injury.
The client started experiencing tingling and numbness in her upper extremities. These symptoms can occur when a cervical nerve root becomes inflamed or damaged due to a nearby bone spur or herniated disc caused by spinal degeneration or a traumatic injury. While the car crash may not have caused the client’s condition, what it did do was take her asymptomatic condition and transform it into a painful and debilitating injury. In other words, the client’s condition was masked and manageable prior to the crash but the crash caused it to come to life and create symptoms that caused the client daily problems.
After the client exhausted all conservative treatment options, she decided to consult with a spinal specialist. The client finally met with an orthopedic surgeon who recommended that she undergo a cervical surgery to correct her injured neck and alleviate her symptoms. Shortly after, her car accident injury claim was settled.
California Law Allows a Person to Recover Damages for an Existing Medical Problem Made Worse by an Accident
The client was particularly vulnerable to spinal injuries at the time of the collision. She was in her 60s and was already suffering from significant disc degeneration. However, as explained above, her spinal condition was not causing her problems and she could manage it. That all changed after the crash which made her spinal condition worse and aggravated it to the point where she experienced significant symptoms.
The law holds that a person must take the injured party as he or she exists….If a person is elderly, frail or already injured, he or she should still be made whole if a person does an act that causes that person harm.
The law describes a person who is especially vulnerable to an injury as an “eggshell Plaintiff.” In other words, even if the person is as fragile as an egg, if someone breaks the egg, he or she is still responsible for doing so. It does not matter that the at-fault party’s conduct would not have injured a healthy person or regular person. The law holds that a person must take the injured party as he or she exists.
This makes perfect sense. If a person is elderly, frail or already injured, he or she should still be made whole if a person does an act that causes that person harm. Below are the California Jury Instructions that provide for this and that are given to a jury in cases where a person has a pre-existing condition made worse in a car accident or where a person is especially vulnerable to an injury.
CACI 3927. Aggravation of Pre-existing Condition or Disaiblity
Plaintiff is not entitled to damages for any physical or emotional condition that she had before Defendant’s conduct occurred. However, if Plaintiff had a physical or emotional condition that was made worse by Defendant’s wrongful conduct, you must award damages that will reasonably and fairly compensate her for the effect on that condition.
CACI 3928. Unusually Susceptible Plaintiff
You must decide the full amount of money that will reasonably and fairly compensate Plaintiff for all damages caused by the wrongful conduct of Defendants, even if Plaintiff was more susceptible to injury than a normally healthy person would have been, and even if a normally healthy person would not have suffered similar injury.
CACI 430. Causation: Substantial Factor
A substantial factor in causing harm is a factor that a reasonable person would consider to have contributed to the harm. It must be more than a remote or trivial factor. It does not have to be the only cause of the harm.
Our Monterey car accident attorneys are experts in California law. Our attorneys knew what the law allowed for and what we could prove and win if we took the case to trial. Our attorneys successfully presented the client’s claim to the insurance company and explained these legal principles. As a result, we were able to obtain a high payout for the client where other attorneys may not have.
The client was extremely grateful and took time to leave our firm a five-star review online. The client even referred he daughter-in-law to our law firm to handle a different car accident injury case. Our firm strives to get the best result and create long lasting relationships with clients. That was accomplished here and the client was more than satisfied with the successful outcome.
Contact a Monterey Car Accident Attorney Today
If you or a loved one was involved in a car accident, motorcycle accident, trucking accident or other accident while on the roadway, hire a skilled injury attorney from the Piccuta Law Group today. Our Monterey accident attorneys have handled hundreds of injury claims. We can obtain top dollar for your accident and injury case. We do not charge a fee unless we recover for you and advance all costs. We provide free consultations. Contact us today to discuss your car accident claim or personal injury case.
About the author: The content on this page was written by Monterey personal injury attorney and California civil rights lawyer Charles “Tony” Piccuta. Piccuta graduated with honors from Indiana University-Maurer School of Law in Bloomington, Indiana (Ranked Top 35 US News & World Report 2018). Piccuta took and passed the State bars of Arizona, California, Illinois and Nevada (all on the first try). He actively practices throughout California and Arizona. He is a winning trial attorney that regularly handles serious personal injury cases and civil rights lawsuits. He has obtained six and seven figure verdicts in both state and federal court. He has been recognized by Super Lawyers for six years straight. He is AV Rated by Martindale Hubble. He is a member of the Consumer Attorneys of California, American Association for Justice, National Police Accountability Project, Arizona Association of Justice, Maricopa County Bar Association and Scottsdale Bar Association, among other organizations.
Disclaimer: The information on this web site is attorney advertising and is for informational purposes only. It does not constitute legal advice. Reading and relying upon the content on this page does not create an attorney-client relationship. If you are seeking legal advice, you should contact our law firm for a free consultation and to discuss your specific case and issues.