Large vehicle shows minimal damage, but two plaintiffs are said to need surgery. $905K. Los Angeles County.


Insurer says "minor impact" could not have caused claimed back injuries in 3-vehicle rearender.


The Case

  • Case Name: Ana Alvarez and Stephanie Guerrero v. Winnie F. Revels
  • Court and Case Number: Los Angeles Superior Court / BC529872
  • Date of Verdict or Judgment: Wednesday, April 06, 2016
  • Date Action was Filed: Friday, December 06, 2013
  • Type of Case: Vehicles – rear-ender
  • Judge or Arbitrator(s): Hon. Paul A. Bacigalupo
  • Plaintiffs:
    Ana Alvarez, 37
    Stephanie Guerrero, 15
  • Defendants:
    Winnie F. Revels
  • Type of Result: Jury Verdict

The Result

  • Gross Verdict or Award: $905,000: $515,000 for Ana, $390,000 for Stephanie.
  • Contributory/Comparative Negligence: None.
  • Economic Damages:

    Ana Alvarez:

    Past Medical Specials: $ 50,000

    Future Medical Specials: $200,000

    Stephanie Guerrero:

    Past Medical Specials:  $ 50,000

    Future Medical Specials:  $125,000

  • Non-Economic Damages:

    Ana Alvarez:

    Past Pain & Suffering: $175,000

    Future Pain and Suffering: $90,000

    Stephanie Guerrero:

    Past Pain & Suffering :  $ 90,000

    Future Pain & Suffering:  $125,000

  • Trial or Arbitration Time: 7 days.
  • Jury Deliberation Time: 1 day.
  • Jury Polls: 12-0 damages.

The Attorneys

  • Attorney for the Plaintiff:

    The Law Offices of John C. Ye by Eugene M. Genson.

  • Attorney for the Defendant:

    Law Offices of Ford, Walker, Haggerty & Behar by Stephen W. Moore, Long Beach.

The Experts

  • Plaintiff’s Medical Expert(s):

    Fardad Mobin, M.D., neurosurgery, Beverly Hills.

    Brian King, M.D., neuroradiology, Los Angeles.

    Mary Jesko, R.N., life care planning.

  • Defendant's Medical Expert(s):

    William Dillin, M.D., orthopedics, Anaheim.

    Richard Rhee, M.D., radiology, Newport Beach.

    Rhonda Renteria, life care planning, Anaheim.

  • Plaintiff's Technical Expert(s):

    Edward Garcia, M.S., economics, Azusa.

  • Defendant's Technical Expert(s):

    Judson Welcher, Ph.D., accident reconstruction/biomechanics.

Facts and Background

  • Facts and Background:

    Plaintiff Ana Alvarez was driving her 2001 Chevy Suburban with her two children, Hector Guerrero and Stephanie Guerrero. (Hector’s case settled prior to trial). 

    They were stopped at the intersection behind a black MBZ when their vehicle was rear-ended by the defendant vehicle (a 1991 Toyota pick-up) which then pushed the Suburban vehicle forward into the black MBZ's rear bumper.

    There was only a minor scratch to the rear bumper of the black MBZ. That driver left the scene, made no claim and did not exchange information. Plaintiff’s vehicle sustained $4,336.30 in estimated damage with 10.0 hours of frame time damage (but almost no visible damage as bumper was only slightly bent down). Defendant vehicle was towed from scene of loss, had estimated damages of $4,705.29, and was declared a total loss. Defendant vehicle had moderate/heavy visible front end damage.  No police report, no emergency treatment required.

  • Plaintiff's Contentions:

    Both Ana Alvarez and her daughter, Stephanie Guerrero, sustained injuries from this accident and needed future lumbar surgery as recommended by their two orthopedic surgeons and their neurosurgeon.

  • Defendant's Contentions:

    Defendant accepted liability but disputed the extent and causation of injuries since there was not much visible damage.

    Defendant also disputed the high cost of treatment.

Injuries and Other Damages

  • Physical Injuries claimed by Plaintiff:

    Ana Alvarez:

    Ana had “severe degenerative disc disease” with a 5 mm lumbar disc bulge at the L5-S1 level abutting the traversing S1 nerve roots.

    Stephanie Guerrero:

    Stephanie was found to have multiple lumbar disc bulges with a 7mm disc bulge at the L5-S1 level. 

    Both plaintiffs required pain management injections and future lumbar and received surgery recommendations from their treating orthopedic physicians and their neurosurgeon, Fardad Mobin, M.D.

Special Damages

  • Special Damages Claimed - Past Medical: $60,500 (Ana) $59,000 (Stephanie)

Additional Notes

Pre-litigation demand: Two policy limit demands prior to litigation. Offer: None

After filing:

01/16/15: CCP 998 filed for policy limit of $100K for each client. Rejected by defense.

07/16/15 Mediation:

Demand: Policy limit demand for each client.

Offer: $45,000 Ana; $38,000 Stephanie