(Please note: the names and locations of all parties have been changed to protect the confidentiality of the participants in this car accident/personal injury case and its proceedings.)
The following blog entry is written from a defendant’s position as trial approaches. Reviewing this kind of briefing should help potential plaintiffs and clients better understand how parties in a personal injury case present such issues to the court.
INDEPENDENT MEDICAL EXAM (IME)
Plaintiff attended a defense medical examination on July 24, 2008, conducted by Dr. Stuart U.. Dr. U. is a board certified neurologist and is, also, a board certified psychiatrist. Dr. U. could find nothing wrong with plaintiff. Dr. U. suggested that plaintiff’s complaints of pain and achiness might be related to his heavy work for Williams-Sonoma (e.g., moving furniture and other items to and from photo shoots at various locations). Dr. Stuart U. concluded that plaintiff has no restrictions and needs no ongoing treatment as a result of the accident. At no time, excluding the x-rays of plaintiff’s feet in the ER and by Dr. V. and the findings by Dr. Z., the gastroenterologist, did any doctor make any objective findings that correlate with plaintiff’s plethora of subjective complaints.
Doctors must believe their patients, but jurors need not do so. Thus, this trial will involve the credibility of plaintiff, both as to liability and as to causation of injuries and damages. There are a number of inconsistencies with respect to plaintiff’s history and complaints as set forth in medical and other records, not specified herein.
Alleged Special Damages
a. Medical Specials
Plaintiff’s counsel informs us that plaintiff’s medical specials total approximately $18,000.00; the defense has been able to determine only $4,100.00.
Plaintiff’s Vehicle Code and Traffic Code Violations
California Vehicle Code Section 21200(a) provides, in substance, that every person riding a bicycle on the highway is subject to all of the provisions applicable to the driver of a vehicle. Plaintiff is culpable of violating the following California Vehicle Code sections that directly caused the accident, thus creating a negligence per se situation:
Vehicle Code Sections
21201(d)(1) Failure to have a headlight at night
22450(a) Failure to stop at stop sign
21650 Failure to ride bicycle on right half of roadway
21802(a) Failure to stop at stop sign and yield right of way
21804(a) Failure to yield right of way on entering or crossing highway
Defendant will adduce testimony from two designated experts: Dr. Mark Stuart U. and Michael Pratt, an engineer/accident reconstructionist. Dr. Stuart U. examined plaintiff on July 24, 2008. Dr. Stuart U. will testify, in essence, that plaintiff is currently all right, is in no need of any medical care as a result of the accident, and plaintiff can perform his usual work without any restriction. The symptoms expressed by plaintiff to his treaters are functional and not organic; there are no objective findings absent plaintiff’s toe x-rays and digestive system studies, to support any diagnosis of injury related to the accident. Mr. Pratt will testify, in essence, that: (a) It is likely that plaintiff was riding on the sidewalk and not on the Frontage Road; (b) defendant was traveling relatively slowly as he rounded the corer of Ridge and at the moment of impact-defendant testified it was 10 mph and Mr. Pratt believes that is about correct; (c) plaintiff was traveling approximately 15-20 mph on a 6-8 percent downhill as he approached the intersection of Ridge and 12-15 mph when he ran into the side of defendant’s Camry; (d) this analysis of Mr. Pratt’s is consistent with the testimony of those present at the accident scene, the degree of uphill to Crest and downhill to Ridge, on the Boulevard, the damage sustained by the vehicles, the rider dynamics and injuries and (e) that due to sight obstructions, mainly the two large traffic signal control boxes on the sidewalk at the corer of Ridge and the trees planted along the sidewalk of the Boulevard, defendant would likely not see plaintiff until plaintiff was about 15 feet away from impact- this corresponds to the testimony of defendant. (See Part 6 of 7.)
For more information you are welcome to contact Sacramento personal injury lawyer, Moseley Collins.