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MOTOR VEHICLE TORTS: Court Finds That A Recommendation For A Fusion Not Credible

MOTOR VEHICLE TORTS: Court Finds That A Recommendation For A Fusion Not Credible

In a trial to the court, Judge Radcliffe finds that a doctor’s recommendation that a plaintiff injured in a motor vehicle accident undergo disc fusion was not credible.

The MRI showed herniated discs at C6-7 and C4-5.  The plaintiff underwent physical therapy for five months and was rated at 5% ppd.  It was recommended that she have 8 to 12 visits per year for chiropractic treatment.  Dr. Abraham Mintz rated the plaintiff with a ppd of the spine of 15% and recommended disc excision and fusion, which Mintz estimated would cost $50,000.00.  Mintz noted that the plaintiff was “scared” to undergo surgery.  Two other physicians rated the plaintiff at a 5% ppd and noted that the plaintiff refused surgical treatment.

The court found that the plaintiff did not intend to undergo surgery and that if she did, it would not cost $50,000.00.  “Neither the recommendation for fusion surgery … or the cost of that surgery is found to be credible.”  The court awarded past medical expenses of $8,651.00 and future medical expenses of $9,800.00.  The court awarded non-economic damages for pain and suffering of $53,000.00.

Cruz v. Sanchez, CV 10-6007670S (Radcliffe, J.)(May 7, 2013)

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