Case details

Bicyclist claimed collision caused thumb and knee injuries





Result type

Not present

knee, soft tissue, thumb
On June 26, 2009, plaintiff Zachary Froley, 27, was riding his bicycle along 17th Street in Sacramento when he was struck by a Mercedes operated by Timothy Chen, who was pulling out of an alleyway onto 17th Street. Froley was subsequently knocked off his bicycle, and he claimed to his left knee and right hand. Froley sued Chen, alleging that he was negligent in the operation of his vehicle. Froley claimed that he was riding his bicycle on the sidewalk along 17th Street when Chen’s vehicle came out of an alleyway and struck him. Thus, he claimed that Chen was inattentive as he exited the alleyway and caused the crash. Defense counsel noted that Froley told the responding police officer that he was riding his bicycle on 17th Street and was attempting to get up onto the sidewalk when the accident occurred. Accordingly, counsel contended that when Chen was in the alleyway, about to enter onto 17th Street, Froley was riding his bicycle in the street, in the wrong direction, and that when Froley tried to get onto the sidewalk near the alleyway, the collision occurred. Thus, defense counsel argued that Froley was negligent, himself, for causing the accident., Froley was struck on his left leg and then fell onto his right, dominant hand. When his scraped hand reddened, became tender, swollen, and eventually black and blue, his father drove him to the Sutter Memorial Hospital Emergency Room in Sacramento. At the hospital, Froley complained of left knee, leg and ankle pain. He claimed that within weeks, he started experiencing difficulty with his thumb, including locking, soreness and pain. As a result, in March 2011, he first saw a physician, who sent him out for diagnostic testing and provided him with pain medication. In May 2011, Froley was referred to a physical medicine and rehabilitation expert, who found the right thumb to be deteriorated. The treating physician then recommended a soft-tissue brace, physical therapy, for which Froley underwent for one month, and medication. Froley was also determined to have suffered a soft-tissue injury to his knee and minimal partial tearing of the flexor pollicis longus tendon of his right thumb with tenosynovitis. However, he received no treatment for his knee. As a result, Froley walked with a limp and used a cane for six months. Despite undergoing physical therapy for his thumb, Froley’s right hand worsened with time and became tender, numb and stiff. He claimed that as a result of the numbness/tingling and stiffness, his thumb would give out and lock, causing a loss of motion. He also claimed that his condition was worse with computer work. His physical medicine and rehabilitation expert subsequently recommended that Froley wear a soft cast brace on his hand. The treating physician also recommended a steroid injection to reduce the swelling in the thumb and additional physical therapy. Subsequently, in May 2012, Froley was referred to an orthopedic/hand surgery expert, who initially injected the hand. However, when the injection failed to resolve the hand injury, the physician performed surgery, which was successful. Froley claimed that he worked as a seasonal firefighter from May to November in the years preceding the accident, but that he could no longer work as a firefighter. In addition, he claimed that at the time of the accident, he was in the process of starting his own computer repair business/Web site design, but that he was unable to do so because of his right hand limitations. Froley further claimed that paddle boarding was his passion and that before the surgery, he could not grip a paddle, lift weights or do anything that required grip strength. However, he claimed that after the surgery, his complaints had resolved. Thus, Froley sought recovery of pain-and-suffering damages, as well as $15,000 in past medical costs, and $107,000 in lost earnings based on the three years off from firefighting and the computer business he was starting. Specifically, he based his computer business loss-of-earnings claim on past jobs he had in the field. Defense counsel questioned whether Froley’s thumb injury could have been caused by the subject accident, as he did not complain of any immediate pain at the emergency room or seek medical care until February 2011. Counsel contended that even if Froley sustained the thumb injury from the accident, Froley failed to mitigate his damages by treating the injury earlier. In regard to Froley’s loss-of-earnings claim, defense counsel argued that, at most, Froley would have missed one season of firefighting, instead of three. Defense counsel also argued that Froley should not be awarded any money for his loss-of-earnings claim or for his alleged lost profits from his computer business. Counsel contended that even though Froley alleged that he could not type without pain or use a computer mouse, he continued to do work on the computer and do computer-related jobs here-and-there for his family, etc. In addition, defense counsel contended that three days after Froley’s deposition, during which he testified to being unable to grip a paddle, Froley competed in a paddleboard race, which he later admitted to.
Superior Court of Sacramento County, Sacramento, CA

Recommended Experts


Get a FREE consultation for your case