Facts & Allegations
On April 28, 2014, plaintiff Michael R., age 41, a police officer, was driving a Suburban on westbound SR-4 in Contra Costa County, near the City of Antioch. Michael Muha was driving on the same stretch of highway in a truck, and in the course and scope of his employment with Pure Electric, Co. Due to traffic congestion, Michael R. stopped his vehicle in the highway for approximately five seconds before his vehicle was rear-ended by Muha’s truck.
Michael R. sustained injuries to his chest, head and back. Michael R. required on-scene medical attention and transport to the Emergency Department where he was hospitalized. While at the hospital, Michael R. was treated rib fractures, a left clavicle fracture, a left scapular fracture, nasal fracture and an acute closed head injury. Michael R. underwent an open reduction internal fixation of the left midshaft clavicle and was later discharged. Following discharge, Michael R. also began experiencing pain in his cervical and lumbar spine areas. He was diagnosed with disc protrusions and stenosis at L4-5 and L5-S1 and cervical facet syndrome. Michael R. had treatment for both areas, including injections and a radiofrequency ablation to his cervical spine. Treatment was periodic, but continued for approximately three years post-accident. Michael R. was advised that he would possibly require an anterior lumbar interbody fusion with decompression in the future. Michael R. alleged that these were a result of the accident and sought recovery for this operation and other pain management treatment. Michael R. went back to work within three months of the accident. Plaintiffs did not allege that Michael R. had any limitations that precluded him from performing his job.
Janeann R. brought a loss of consortium claim.
Defendant asserted that Michael R. was fully healed from all his injuries three months post-accident, at which time he returned to his full-time job as a police officer with no restrictions. Defendant cited to a lumbar spine condition that Michael R. was treated for prior to this accident as the reason for his lumbar spine treatment and any potential need for future medical care.
Michael R. sued Michael Muha, individually and dba Pure Electric, as well as Deborah Muha individually and dba Pure Electric, as co-owner of the vehicle and co-owner of the company.
Michael R. alleged that Muha was negligent in the operation of his vehicle and that the company and Deborah Muha were vicariously liable. Michael R. contended that Michael Muha was driving at an unsafe speed for the traffic conditions and failed to observe the slowing traffic causing the collision.
Defendants conceded liability.
The parties agreed to settle prior to trial for $750,000, paid by defendants’ insurer.