Admitted liability in car crash nets plaintiff $100K for back and neck injury. San Mateo County.


Demand prior to trial was $1 million. Plaintiff had pre-existing neck and back pain. 

The Case

  • Case Name: Kidwell v. Evans
  • Court and Case Number: San Mateo County Superior Court 20-CIV-03255
  • Date of Verdict or Judgment: Wednesday, September 06, 2023
  • Date Action was Filed: Tuesday, August 04, 2020
  • Type of Case: Vehicles - Auto vs. Auto
  • Judge or Arbitrator(s): Hon. Susan Greenberg
  • Plaintiffs:
    Christopher Kidwell, 38, IT technician
  • Defendants:
    Sally Evans, 90
  • Type of Result: Jury Verdict

The Result

  • Gross Verdict or Award: $100,000
  • Non-Economic Damages:

    Past: $100,000

  • Trial or Arbitration Time: 7 days
  • Jury Deliberation Time: 5 1/2 hours
  • Jury Polls: 11-1 on $100,000 past non-economic; 10-2 for $0 future economic and non-economic.
  • Post Trial Motions & Post-Verdict Settlements: Plaintiff presented a cost bill for $69,944. Defendant filed a motion to tax costs. Trial judge reduced the cost bill to $29,500.

The Attorneys

  • Attorney for the Plaintiff:

    Law Offices of John J. Roach by John J. Roach, San Francisco.

    Law Office of Chuck Geerhart by Chuck Geerhart, San Francisco.

  • Attorney for the Defendant:

    Ford, Walker, Haggerty & Behar by Arthur J. Casey, Los Gatos.

The Experts

  • Plaintiff’s Medical Expert(s):

    Youjeong Kim, M.D., orthopedic surgery, San Francisco.

    Violeta (Holly) Allman, Ph.D., life care planning, Sacramento.

  • Defendant's Medical Expert(s):

    Rayshad Oshtory, M.D., orthopedic surgery, San Francisco.

Facts and Background

  • Facts and Background:

    On October 2, 2019, the plaintiff and defendant were in a two-vehicle accident at the intersection of Triton and Foster City Blvd. in Foster City. Triton, where the accident happened, is a two-way street with one straight lane, one left-turn lane, and one right-turn lane in the plaintiff’s direction.  Foster City Blvd. is a two-way street with three lanes each way plus a left-turn lane. 

    Plaintiff contends his light changed to green. He proceeded into the intersection. He was 40% of the way through the intersection when the accident happened. The rear driver’s side of his vehicle was struck by the front of the defendant’s vehicle. Plaintiff was transported from scene by ambulance. 

  • Plaintiff's Contentions:

    That the accident caused life limiting injuries to plaintiff's neck, low back, and caused leg pain, that would require future surgeries, such as a disc replacement, and possible fusion. Plaintiff claimed a life care plan of $916,390.

  • Defendant's Contentions:

    Defendant admitted liability. Defendant contended that plaintiff’s alleged residual injuries were not related to the accident, but were a pre-existing condition that had been ongoing for years.

Injuries and Other Damages

  • Physical Injuries claimed by Plaintiff:

    Right-sided lower-back pain radiating to right leg. Right foot numbness along the top and sides. Pain is present 100% of the time. Pain and numbness made worse by carrying his baby, sitting, standing up to 30 minutes, and directly related to the amount of activity, and worse toward the end of the day. Reports pain is 90% back pain and 10% leg pain. He notes it is 100% right leg pain. He reports he can stand in one place for 20-30 minutes without pain. He reports he can walk without pain for 20-30 minutes.

    Plaintiff’s expert Dr. Youjeong Kim recommended decompression laminectomy and future lumbar spine fusion, in addition to injections, physical therapy, and other treatment for the next 40 years.

    Prior to the subject accident, the plaintiff had neck, back and radiating leg pain. He had neck pain for a few months before the subject accident.  His neck pain up to the time of the subject accident was moderate. The plaintiff also had low-back pain with radiating leg pain for two or three years before the subject accident. He treated at Kaiser for his low back pain. He also had four visits at Foster City Chiropractic for his low back pain. His position was that he would intermittently have back pain radiating to his leg, but it always went away.  He denied having back pain up to the time of the subject accident. He denied having any foot pain or discomfort before the subject accident. 

Demands and Offers

  • Plaintiff §998 Demand: $495,000
  • Plaintiff Final Demand before Trial: $1,000,000
  • Defendant §998 Offer: $100,001
  • Defendant Final Offer before Trial: $100,001

Additional Notes

Plaintiff's counsel asked the jury to award $8,400,000. Defense counsel asked the jury to award $50,000.