$1 Million Verdict for Motorcycle Collision
Mr. Newton is a husband and father of three from Rocklin, CA. While riding his motorcycle in Downtown Sacramento, Mr. Newton was struck by a Comcast van which abruptly turned into his lane. Mr. Newton did not complain of back pain at the scene or in the emergency room. A follow up exam three days after the collision documented tenderness in the lumbar spine and the first physical therapy note seven days post-accident refers to low back pain and pain radiating into the buttocks. Plaintiff received conservative care consisting of physical therapy and chiropractic before being referred for a pain management consult. Newton went on to receive extensive pain management therapy following the accident that continued up to the time of trial. Four and a half months after the accident Newton was referred to a spine surgeon for consultation. While the surgeon indicated that plaintiff may ultimately be a surgical candidate for a two-level fusion in his lumbar spine, he recommended that Newton continue to explore conservative treatment options. He also opined that plaintiff needed to lose weight and increase his core strength. The surgeon’s review of Newton’s lumbar MRI noted multi-level degenerative changes throughout his low back and congenital stenosis (narrow spinal canal). At trial, Comcast emphasized the fact that no low back complaints were documented in the ambulance and hospital records on the day of the accident, although Comcast conceded that plaintiff’s low back was injured in the accident – just not to the extent claimed by plaintiff. Additionally, the defense surgeon pointed to prior automobile accidents in 2007 and 2008 as causally related to the degeneration seen on Plaintiff’s MRIs. The defense doctor also opined that plaintiff’s congenitally narrow spinal canal – a condition that ran in plaintiff’s family – was also a contributory factor unrelated to the accident. Comcast’s last offer of $300,000 was rejected. Attorneys Catia Saraiva and Jason Sigel brought the case to trial and presented evidence and testimony from witnesses, including five medical experts. After an eight day trial the jury awarded Mr. Newton a verdict of $1.069 Million. With an expired CCP 998 Offer, Comcast was forced to pay an additional $328,000 in interest and recoverable costs, bringing the total recovery to over $1.39 Million.
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