January 20, 2022, in the Central Valley, Shelby was driving her Ford Taurus at 70mph. The weather was foggy and the Defendant was driving a tractor-trailer making a left turn in front of Shelby causing a major collision.
Shelby argued that the driver of the tractor trailer had duty to pull over if visibility was limited and wait for the fog is dissipate.
Defendant contended that Shelby was driving too fast and exaggerated her injuries.
Shelby was taken to the ER and underwent surgery to repair a broken clavicle. She claimed she continue to suffer and developed a chronic pain condition called complex regional pain syndrome [CRPS], along with a mild traumatic brain injury [MTBI].
The definition of CRPS is:
Complex regional pain syndrome (CRPS), also known as reflex sympathetic dystrophy (RSD), is a chronic pain condition that typically affects one limb, such as an arm, leg, hand, or foot. It is characterized by persistent and intense pain, often disproportionate to the severity of the initial injury or trauma that triggered the condition.
The exact cause of complex regional pain syndrome is not fully understood. It is believed to involve abnormal responses in the central and peripheral nervous systems, leading to a cascade of pain signals and inflammation. The condition can arise after an injury, surgery, stroke, heart attack, or even without any apparent trigger.
The symptoms of CRPS can vary but often include:
1. Continuous, severe pain that may be burning, throbbing, or
shooting in nature.
2. Swelling and changes in skin temperature (alternating between hot and cold).
3. Changes in skin color and texture, such as blotchiness or shininess.
4. Sensitivity to touch or even slight movements (allodynia).
5. Muscle weakness, stiffness, or tremors.
6. Joint stiffness and limited range of motion.
7. Changes in hair and nail growth patterns.
Defense argued that CRPS is a medical outlier diagnosis. They argued that there is no medical consensus due to the following reasons:
• Lack of Objective Diagnostic Tests
• Overlapping symptoms
• Variability of Presentation inconsistencies
• Lack of Diagnostic consensus
• Multifaceted condition that is both physical and psychological.
The jury believed Shelby and her doctors.
Defendant paid the policy limits of $5,000,000.
The verdict was upheld in Fresno Superior Court by Honorary Jeffrey Hamilton presiding on April 12, 2023.