Liability admitted but injuries to two plaintiffs disputed in rear-ender. $823K. Los Angeles County.


Driver in course and scope of employment is liable for wreck;  nature and extent of injury and treatment is disputed.

The Case

  • Case Name: Azucena V. Garcia, et al. v. Salvador Hernandez, et al.
  • Court and Case Number: Los Angeles Superior Court / BC594703
  • Date of Verdict or Judgment: Thursday, June 28, 2018
  • Date Action was Filed: Monday, September 14, 2015
  • Type of Case: Vehicles – rear-ender
  • Judge or Arbitrator(s): Hon. Michele E. Flurer
  • Plaintiffs:
    Azucena V. Garcia, 35, waitress.
    Jesus Garcia Garcia, 37, cook.
  • Defendants:
    Salvador Hernandez
    Louis Packaging Inc.
  • Type of Result: Jury Verdict

The Result

  • Gross Verdict or Award: $823,045.93
  • Net Verdict or Award: $823,045.93, plus costs.
  • Economic Damages:

    Past for Azucena: $50,921.86

    Future for Azucena: $0

    Past for Jesus: $221,124.07

    Future for Jesus: $26,000

    Total: $298,045.93

  • Non-Economic Damages:

    Past for Azucena: $65,000

    Future for Azucena: $60,000

    Past for Jesus: $150,000

    Future for Jesus: $250,000

    Total: $525,000

The Attorneys

  • Attorney for the Plaintiff:

    AlderLaw PC by Michael Alder, Los Angeles.

    Law Offices of Jennie Levin, P.C. by Jennie Levin, Los Angeles.

  • Attorney for the Defendant:

    Raffalow, Bretoi & Adams by Jack M. Liebhaber and Dustin E. Thordarson, Sherman Oaks.

The Experts

  • Plaintiff’s Medical Expert(s):

    Jacob Tauber, M.D., orthopedic surgery, Beverly Hills. 

  • Defendant's Medical Expert(s):

    Arya Nick Shamie, M.D., orthopedic surgery, Santa Monica.

    Lawrence P. Harter, M.D., radiology, Santa Barbara.

    Tamera G. Rockholt, R.N., B.S.N.


  • Plaintiff's Technical Expert(s):

    Rami Hashish Ph.D., DPT, biomechanics, accident reconstruction, Los Angeles.

  • Defendant's Technical Expert(s):

    Tamera G. Rockholt, R.N., B.S.N., medical billing.

    Alvin Lowi III. P.E., accident reconstruction, El Segundao.

    Bryan Randles, MS, ACTAR, biomechanics, Long Beach.

Facts and Background

  • Facts and Background:

    Plaintiff Azucena Garcia was stopped at a red light in her vehicle at the intersection of Avalo Drive and Colima Road in Hacienda Heights. Her husband, plaintiff Jesus Garcia, was in the front passenger seat. Behind her, Salvador Hernandez failed to stop his box truck, rear-ending plaintiffs' vehicle. Defendant was driving at about 50 mph when his vehicle struck plaintiff's vehicle.

  • Plaintiff's Contentions:

    That defendant driver was negligent in the operation of the box truck and Louis Packaging was liable for his actions as he was in the course and scope of his employment.

    That defendant driver's negligence caused plaintiffs physical injuries.

  • Defendant's Contentions:

    Defendants admitted liability and that Hernandez was in the course of action and scope of employment. However, they contended that the treatment was unreasonable and unnecessary and that the injuries were pre-existing.

Injuries and Other Damages

  • Physical Injuries claimed by Plaintiff:

    Azucena claimed injuries to her back and neck. Jesus contended he sustained injuries to his knee, back and neck. Jesus had epidural injections and a micro-decompression surgery on the low back and Azucena had epidural injections.

Demands and Offers

  • Plaintiff §998 Demand: By Jesus Garcia: $850,000; By Azucena Garcia: $150,000.
  • Defendant §998 Offer: For Jesus Garcia: $250,000; For Azucena Garcia: $50,000.