Soft-tissue injuries to plaintiff driver and passenger. Liability disputed. $43K. Santa Barbara County.


Two plaintiffs in one car suffered soft-tissue injuries from rear-ender. Defendant disputed liability and extent of treatment.

The Case

  • Case Name: Martinez v. Cortes
  • Court and Case Number: Santa Barbara Superior Court / 1413755
  • Date of Verdict or Judgment: Monday, March 31, 2014
  • Date Action was Filed: Wednesday, October 10, 2012
  • Type of Case: Vehicles - Auto vs. Auto
  • Judge or Arbitrator(s): Hon. Jed Beebe
  • Plaintiffs:
    Vidal Martinez, 19
    Judith Martinez, 15
  • Defendants:
    Andres Cortes
  • Type of Result: Jury Verdict

The Result

  • Gross Verdict or Award: $43,912.40
  • Contributory/Comparative Negligence: 0
  • Economic Damages:

    Vidal: $13,124.21

    Judith $5,788.18

  • Non-Economic Damages:

    Vidal: $15,000

    Judith $10,000

  • Trial or Arbitration Time: 4 days
  • Jury Deliberation Time: 4 hours
  • Jury Polls: 12-0

The Attorneys

  • Attorney for the Plaintiff:

    Quirk Law Firm, LLP by Trevor Quirk, Ventura.

  • Attorney for the Defendant:

    Law Ofc Gregory J. Lucett by Charles Wessler, Glendale.

The Experts

  • Plaintiff’s Medical Experts:
    Daniel Murphy, D.C., Santa Maria.
  • Defendant's Medical Experts:
    Garrett M. Casey, D.C., Reseda.

Facts and Background

  • Facts and Background:

    On Dec.10, 2011, plaintiff Vidal Martinez, 19, was operating her vehicle, with plaintiff Judith Martinez, 15, as a front seat passenger, at the intersection of Donovan and Thornburg in Santa Maria, when their vehicle was rear-ended by a vehicle operated by Andres Cortes.

    An ambulance took plaintiffs to the hospital (Marian Medical Center) where they were X-rayed and discharged. Five days later they began chiropractic treatment with Daniel Murphy, DC. Two months later, after 19 visits, the chiropractor discharged plaintiffs as fully recovered. Plaintiffs testified they have recovered and sought medical and general damages.

  • Plaintiff's Contentions:

    Plaintiffs sued Cortes for motor vehicle negligence. Plaintiffs alleged Cortes was speeding, traveling 35 mph and not paying attention to traffic ahead.

  • Defendant's Contentions:

    Defendant alleged he was going 15 mph. Liability was never accepted by defendant.

    Defendant contended that Marian Medical Center's bills were excessive and that chiropractic treatment was unnecessary.

Injuries and Other Damages

  • Physical Injuries claimed by Plaintiff:

    Plaintiffs claimed soft-tissue injuries to their necks and backs.

Demands and Offers

  • Plaintiff §998 Demand: $12,000 (Vidal Martinez); $20,000 (Judith Martinez).
  • Defendant §998 Offer: $9,000 for Vidal Martinez; $11,000 for Judith Martinez.