Motorist injured in 3-car collision
San Diego Superior Court

On September 21, 2015, at about 7:30 a.m., 56 yr old plaintiff Duane Gilbert was driving his white 2002 Chevy Trailblazer on the I-15 southbound in Escondido.  He had left his sister's house in Hemet and was on his way to work at the San Diego Parks and Recreation Department.  While driving in the fast lane, traffic was heavy, and the vehicle in front of him, a white 1999 GMC Sierra came to a complete stop.  Mr. Gilbert came to a complete stop  behind the GMC Sierra and was struck from the rear by defendant Isidro Quinones who was operating a white 2013 Dodge Ram 1500.  The impact caused Mr. Gilbert’s vehicle to come into contact with the GMC Sierra.  The GMC Sierra was pushed forward, but did not contact any other vehicle.  The damage to plaintiff’s vehicle was barely visible.

Mr. Gilbert sustained injuries to his head, neck, low back and right shoulder, resulting in three surgeries. (1) 06/27/2016: Anterior cervical diskectomy, bilateral, C3-4, C4-5, C5-6, C6-7, and CT-T1 posterior arthrodesis and cervical laminectomy; (2) 12/19/2016: L4-5 and L5-S1 decompression; and (3) 03/29/2017: Right shoulder arthroscopic subacromial decompression.  His total medical bills were $447,254.52.  Plaintiff’s past medical history was remarkable in that he had two prior low back surgeries and pre-existing meylomalacia.  Defendant claimed that these pre-existing conditions necessitated the surgeries that he underwent post-accident.  Plaintiff alleged future care needs would include an additional cervical fusion, surgery at T1 - T2 to account for adjacent segment disease, and a spinal cord stimulator.  Defendant disputed the nature and extent of the injuries.  At the time of the injury, Mr. Gilbert was working for San Diego Parks and Recreation making approximately $13.00 per hour.  Plaintiff claimed he was unable to return to work.  Defendant claimed that appropriate pain management would allow him to return to gainful employment.

The case settled after two mediations for more than plaintiff’s CCP §998 Offer of Compromise.