Truck driver claims loss of future earnings when docs say he is unable to work. $289K. Kern County.


Two trucks collide on the Grapevine;  plaintiff driver claims past and future meds and loss of past/future income.


The Case

  • Case Name: Lance Scott Bowman v. Pedro Garcia, Jr. and Fast Moving Carrier LLC
  • Court and Case Number: Kern County / BCV-21-102197
  • Date of Verdict or Judgment: Wednesday, September 06, 2023
  • Date Action was Filed: Monday, September 20, 2021
  • Type of Case: Vehicles - Tractor Trailers
  • Judge or Arbitrator(s): Hon. T. Mark Smith
  • Plaintiffs:
    Lance Scott Bowman
  • Defendants:
    Pedro Garcia, Jr.
    Fast Moving Carrier LLC
  • Type of Result: Jury Verdict

The Result

  • Gross Verdict or Award: $289,960.10
  • Net Verdict or Award: $289,960.10
  • Contributory/Comparative Negligence: Admitted liability
  • Economic Damages:

    Past medical: $37,495.10 (stipulated)

    Future medical: $15,000

    Past lost earnings: $187,465

    Future lost earnings: $0

  • Non-Economic Damages:

    Past: $50,000

    Future: $0

  • Trial or Arbitration Time: 9 days
  • Jury Deliberation Time: 1 day
  • Jury Polls: 9-3 to 12-0
  • Post Trial Motions & Post-Verdict Settlements: None.

The Attorneys

  • Attorney for the Plaintiff:

    Law Offices of John C. Hall by John C. Hall, Bakersfield.

  • Attorney for the Defendant:

    Hosp, Gilbert & Bergsten by Robert T. Bergsten, Pasadena.

The Experts

  • Plaintiff’s Medical Expert(s):

    Allan Moelleken, M.D., orthopedic surgery.

    Brenda Steinberg, M.D., occupational medicine.

    Bradford Anderson, M.D., physical medicine and rehabilitation.

    Andrew Thierry, M.D., radiology.

    James Kim, M.D., internal medicine and rheumatology.

    David Wahba, M.D., pain management.

    John McGrath, nurse practitioner.

  • Defendant's Medical Expert(s):

    Nickul Jain, M.D., orthopedic surgery.

    Brian King, M.D., radiology.

  • Plaintiff's Technical Expert(s):

    Rick Sarkissian, Ph.D., vocational rehabilitation.

  • Defendant's Technical Expert(s):


Facts and Background

  • Facts and Background:

    On January 27, 2019, plaintiff, a 58-year-old, male, was driving his tractor-trailer northbound on the 5 Freeway, uphill through the Grapevine, when he came upon defendant driver's tractor-trailer, which was sliding backwards down the freeway toward plaintiff. Plaintiff steered hard to the left to avoid the oncoming rig, but plaintiff's rig was struck by defendant's rig. Both rigs jackknifed and sustained major damage.

    Defendant driver Garcia was an employee of defendant Fast Moving Carrier LLC.

    Defendants admitted liability and disputed plaintiff's damages.

  • Plaintiff's Contentions:

    Plaintiff alleged that defendant Garcia was negligent and that his employer, defendant Fast Moving Carrier, was vicariously liable for Garcia's neglect.

    Plaintiff claimed loss of past and future income and pension benefits.

  • Defendant's Contentions:

    Defendants admitted liability but contested nature and extent of injury.

    Defendants stipulated to the reasonable and necessary past medical bills, and requested that the jury award $0 for future medical bills; $87,000.00 for past lost earnings; $0 for future lost earnings; $50,000.00 for past general damages; and $0 for future general damages.

Injuries and Other Damages

  • Physical Injuries claimed by Plaintiff:

    Plaintiff allegedly sustained lumbar herniated discs, which caused bilateral radicular pain and loss of motor strength. He also claimed PTSD. Plaintiff was treated with physical therapy, medications and lumbar injections, which provided no relief of his physical symptoms. MRIs, a Nerve Conduction Study, and physical exams confirmed the presence of the herniations and radicular complaints. Psychological counseling and medication were used to treat his PTSD.

    Plaintiff alleged that he needs lumbar fusion surgery and lifetime pain medication, injections and physical therapy. Plaintiff alleged that he was unable to return to work as a truck driver after the accident as his radicular symptoms prevented him from driving tractor-trailers safely and he could not pass a DOT physical exam. All of plaintiff's doctors testified to plaintiff's restrictions and limitations. Further, all doctors testified that plaintiff will not be able to work as a trucker in the future even with a future lumbar surgery, therapy and medications. Plaintiff alleged that he would have continued working as a highly paid, union-member truck driver for another 10 years if he had not been injured. Plaintiff's vocational expert, Dr. Sarkissian, testified that plaintiff could not work in any other capacity due to his physical limitations, age and limited education.

Special Damages

  • Special Damages Claimed - Past Medical: $37,495.10 (stipulated)
  • Special Damages Claimed - Future Medical: $1,086,085
  • Special Damages Claimed - Past Lost Earnings: $254,775
  • Special Damages Claimed - Future Lost Earnings: $1,497,883

Demands and Offers

  • Plaintiff §998 Demand: Policy limits of $750,000
  • Plaintiff Demand during Trial: Plaintiff requested $500,000 for his past general damages and $2,000,000 for future general damages.
  • Defendant §998 Offer: $250,000

Additional Notes

Insurer: National Transportation Insurance Company.