Facts & Allegations
On April 4, 2013, plaintiff Marshall R., 25 years of age, a laborer for Triton Construction, was driving a GMC Sierra 1500 Truck for his employer on SR-24 Eastbound and was exiting one of the bores of the Caldecott Tunnel in Oakland. Subsequently, his vehicle was rear-ended by a vehicle operated by Gerard Ayala in the tunnel.
It was alleged that Marshall R. slammed on his brakes and came to a sudden stop in the tunnel and Ayala traveling behind Marshall R. and attempted to stop his vehicle, but his vehicle slid forward because of the wet and rainy conditions.
Marshall R. sued Gerard Ayala and Teresa Ayala, a co-owner of Gerard Ayala’s vehicle. Marshall R., in a third-party action, opened up underinsured motorist claims against AMCO Insurance Company (Nationwide), which was Marshall R.’s personal automobile insurance, and Travelers Indemnity Company of Connecticut, which was the automobile insurance that covered the work truck that Roberts was driving.
Following this accident, Marshall R. was driven to the emergency room by one of his co-workers. He reported pain to his neck, upper and lower back, and some knee tenderness in the prior reconstruction area. Imaging showed post-surgical degenerative changes, but no acute injury or effusion. He was diagnosed with a cervical strain and right knee contusion.
Plaintiff alleged that the subject accident aggravated his prior knee injury. After follow-up treatment and imaging, Marshall R. was also diagnosed with right knee synovitis and medial and lateral meniscus tears. Six months post-accident, Marshall R. required a right knee arthroscopy with synovectomy anterior compartment and partial medial and lateral meniscectomy. Marshall R. was also diagnosed with a cervical and thoracic sprain, but in his worker’s compensation claim received a 0 percent impartment rating on both body parts. At the time of the accident Marshall R. was a laborer for Triton Construction where his duties were to demo and clean job sites. Marshall R. was taken off of work following this accident and was advised that he could no longer perform his construction job, so he had to find employment elsewhere. Marshall R. ended up getting a job working for a luxury vehicle rental and travel planning company.
Plaintiff alleged that he would require a complete knee replacement and could no longer perform any manual labor. He sought recovery for past and future medical care and past wage loss.
Defendants alleged that Plaintiff was experiencing pain and receiving treatment at the time of the subject motor vehicle accident due to his pre-existing knee condition. They alleged that the knee operation was due to the pre-existing knee injury.
As a result of the accident, Marshall R. had a worker’s compensation claim. At the time of the 3rd party settlement, his worker compensation carrier, Zurich American Insurance Company, had provided benefits equaling $82,561.36 and had filed their own complaint to recover the full amount. Marshall R. was able to get the carrier Zurich American Insurance Company to waive its subrogation claim and resolved the third party civil lawsuit against the Ayalas, for the full amount of the AYALAS’ policy limit of $100,000. Prior to arbitration being demanded, the matter resolved for a total of $650,000. Thus, Marshall R.’s total recovery in the case was $832,561.36.