Soft-tissue injuries in rear-ender prevent plaintiff from taking high-paying job. $669K. Orange County.


Woman says injuries from accident prevented her from starting work at new position.

The Case

  • Case Name: Christie Wilson v. Evan George Winans and Adams Interiors, Inc.
  • Court and Case Number: Orange County Superior Court / 30-2016-00852025-CU-PA-CJC
  • Date of Verdict or Judgment: Thursday, September 28, 2017
  • Date Action was Filed: Thursday, May 12, 2016
  • Type of Case: Course and scope of employment, Vehicles - Auto vs. Auto
  • Judge or Arbitrator(s): Hon. Gregory Lewis
  • Plaintiffs:
    Christie Wilson, 46.
  • Defendants:
    Evan George Winans
    Adams Interiors, Inc.
  • Type of Result: Bench Verdict

The Result

  • Gross Verdict or Award: $669,623
  • Net Verdict or Award: $669,623
  • Award as to each Defendant:

    Defendants were jointly liable under theory of respondeat superior.

  • Economic Damages:

    Loss of income: $594,623

  • Non-Economic Damages:

    Pain and suffering: $75,000

  • Trial or Arbitration Time: 2 1/2 days.

The Attorneys

  • Attorney for the Plaintiff:

    Traut Firm by Pamela S. Liosi and Eric V. Traut, Santa Ana.

  • Attorney for the Defendant:

    Law Offices of Steven D. Levine by Michael Herzog, Torrance.

The Experts

  • Plaintiff’s Medical Expert(s):

    Todd R. Simpson, D.C.

  • Defendant's Medical Expert(s):

    Daniel Kaplan, M.D.

  • Plaintiff's Technical Expert(s):

    David Fractor, Ph.D., Pasadena.

  • Defendant's Technical Expert(s):

    Alan Lurie, CPA, Los Angeles.

Facts and Background

  • Facts and Background:

    On February 19, 2015 plaintiff was driving westbound on the 91 freeway near the 57 freeway in the lane next to defendant driver, just ahead of him. Defendant attempted to change lanes, and pulled into plaintiff’s lane just behind her, but left insufficient room to do so. His delivery truck struck the rear passenger side of plaintiff’s vehicle. The impact caused plaintiff’s rear window to shatter, and damaged the rear bumper and fuel tank.

    Plaintiff suffered neck and low back strains. As a result of her physical limitations, she was unable to begin a specialty shoe sales position at SAS Shoes.

  • Plaintiff's Contentions:

    That as a result of her injuries and resulting physical limitations, plaintiff was unable to begin a specialty shoe sales position at SAS Shoes. The owner of the company (SAS Shoes) had agreed to a salary of $150,000. Plaintiff claimed $594,623 in past and future lost income and $100,000 in general damages.

    Plaintiff called Todd Simpson, D.C. of Brea. He saw plaintiff on 53 visits over 9 months. He testified her pain was chronic and that his care did not totally resolve her injuries.

    Plaintiff called economist David Fractor, Ph.D., to provide opinions about the lost job opportunity and the offset earnings. His calculations were used by the court in determining the verdict.

  • Defendant's Contentions:

    The defendant disputed the entire lost earnings claim. Defense expert witness, CPA Alan Lurie, testified he did not believe there was any lost income because he did not have enough documentation to allow him to evaluate the claim. He further contended that he believed that SAS Shoes could not afford to pay the claimed $150,000 salary.

    Defense orthopedic surgeon Daniel Kaplan, M.D. (La Habra) testified that plaintiff had soft-tissue injuries that should have resolved within weeks of the collision and that the only reasonable care would have been 8-10 physical therapy visits and home exercise.

Injuries and Other Damages

  • Physical Injuries claimed by Plaintiff:

    Neck and back strains, radicular symptoms into the right arm and leg.

  • Loss of income.

Special Damages

  • Special Damages Claimed - Past Medical: Special medicals were waived.
  • Special Damages Claimed - Future Medical: Waived.
  • Special Damages Claimed - Past Lost Earnings: $277,129
  • Special Damages Claimed - Future Lost Earnings: $317,494

Demands and Offers

  • Plaintiff §998 Demand: $100,000
  • Defendant Final Offer before Trial: $10,000

Additional Notes

At trial, plaintiff waived her $12,000 in past medical specials, which was mostly chiropractic care. Defense counsel waived jury the morning of trial. Following a 2 1/2-day bench trial in Orange County, plaintiff obtained a verdict of $669,623.

The pre-trial offer from Allstate was $10,000 and in closing, defense counsel asked that the judge award only that amount. Plaintiff served a C.C.P. § 998 for $100,000, which Allstate allowed to lapse. The defendant’s policy with Allstate policy was $1 million. With interest and costs, the verdict will exceed $700,000.