Marlink Gains Favorable Award In Binding Arbitration – Hernandez v. Rice

Katherine Marlink headshotPlaintiff Hernandez filed a lawsuit in Sacramento County Superior Court for personal injuries arising from a rear-end motor vehicle collision that occurred on January 19, 2012. At the time the collision occurred, Mr. Hernandez was off from work for similar injuries sustained in a work-related incident that occurred on August 29, 2011.  Rather then proceed with a trial of the matter, the parties agreed to binding arbitration.

Following the accident, the plaintiff continued to treat with providers for his work-related injury and also sought additional care from other providers for injuries he related to the accident. During the pendency of the litigation, the plaintiff made a demand to resolve the matter for $35,000. By the time of arbitration, the plaintiff had reduced his demand to $20,000 and sought from the arbitrator an award in excess of this demand.

At arbitration, Katherine relied on the reports of several of the treating providers that had indicated the plaintiff had returned to his pre-accident status in relation to the injuries he sustained in the motor vehicle accident by February 28, 2012. As a result, it was argued that at most the plaintiff incurred $3,658.76 in treatment that was reasonable and necessary to manage the initial injuries and subsequent “flares” of symptoms. It was further contended that to the extent there were any residual complaints, these were unrelated to the motor vehicle accident.

The arbitrator awarded the plaintiff $12,000.00 inclusive of all costs. The award is below the plaintiff’s demand of $35,000 sought earlier in the litigation.

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