Cramer v. Hon. StarrAnnotate this Case
A car driven by Courtney Cramer rear-ended a vehicle in which Tammy Munguia was a passenger. The next year, Munguia had surgery on her back to treat her persistent low back pain that resulted from the accident. The surgery did not cure Munguia’s symptoms and may have exacerbated her condition. Munguia subsequently filed a personal injury action against Cramer. Cramer filed a notice naming the surgeon as a nonparty at fault. The trial court granted Munguia’s motion to strike, concluding that, under the common law “original tortfeasor rule” (OTR), Cramer, as the original tortfeasor, was liable for the foreseeable risks arising from her tort, including subsequent medical negligence. The Supreme Court reversed, holding (1) the OTR does not preclude a defendant from alleging, or the trier of fact from considering, fault of a nonparty physician who treated the plaintiff for injuries allegedly sustained from the defendant’s tort; and (2) under the OTR, an individual who negligently causes an injury that reasonably necessitates medical treatment may also be liable for any enhanced harm proximately resulting from the individual’s negligence, including subsequent injury and related damages negligently but foreseeably caused by a medical provider.