Case details

Bicyclist claimed motorist failed to drive at safe speed




Mediated Settlement

Result type

Not present

emotional distress, mental, psychological
On Nov. 7, 2011, plaintiff Joseph Azar, 55, a salesman, and his son, plaintiff Samuel Azar, 15, were riding their bicycles near their home on Termino Avenue in Long Beach. At approximately 4:30 p.m., while crossing the intersection with Long Beach Boulevard, the elder Azar collided with a vehicle operated by Megan Colonna, who was traveling on Long Beach Boulevard. Azar claimed to his right ankle, right shoulder and head. Azar and Samuel sued Ms. Colonna and the owner of her vehicle, Frank Colonna, her father. Azar and his son alleged that Ms. Colonna was negligent in the operation of her vehicle and that her father was vicariously liable for her actions. Plaintiffs’ counsel contended that, at the time of the accident, a large white truck was fully stopped in the left lane next to Ms. Colonna, giving an indication that a hazardous condition was up ahead. Thus, counsel contended that Ms. Colonna had a duty to drive at a safe speed, per California Vehicle Code § 22350, when she saw a truck fully stopped at the tip of the intersection to her left side, regardless of the color of the light. Plaintiffs’ counsel further contended that the point of impact was in the middle of the intersection, with Ms. Colonna’s front bumper striking the right side of Azar, giving a reasonable inference that Azar was in the intersection before Ms. Colonna. In addition, plaintiffs’ counsel asserted that there was a great deal of inconsistencies in the defense’s witness statement and deposition testimony. Ms. Colonna told an investigating traffic officer that she had a clear green light at the time of the impact, and this was verified by an eyewitness, Tim Ford. In addition, Ford told police and testified at his deposition that he clearly saw Azar “fly through the intersection…at a high speed.” Thus, defense counsel asserted that Azar was placed at fault in the traffic collision report. Counsel further asserted that Azar had a red light and was in violation of California Vehicle Code § 21453 for failing to stop for a red light, making him responsible for his own ., Azar was taken by ambulance from the scene of the accident and was brought to an emergency room. He sustained fractures to his right ankle and right shoulder blade. He subsequently underwent open reduction and internal fixation surgery to treat both . Azar also claimed a minor closed head injury. Azar claimed he still experiences some pain and discomfort to his right ankle and right shoulder, but that he suffers from no neurological defects from his head injury. He also claimed he missed four to five months of work, but did receive full commission from his previous sales and was able to work from home during his recovery. In addition, Azar incurred $143,000 in past medical costs, which was fully paid by his insurance carrier. Thus, he sought recovery of damages for his past and future pain and suffering. Azar’s wife, Trisha, presented a derivative claim, seeking recovery of damages for her loss of consortium. Samuel claimed emotional distress as a result of witnessing his father on a bicycle being struck by Ms. Colonna’s motor vehicle. Thus, he sought recovery of general damages. Defense counsel contended that Mr. Azar had fully recovered from his , for the most part, with no further residuals. Counsel also contended that Mr. Azar is no longer receiving any physical therapy or even follow-up evaluations.
Superior Court of Los Angeles County, San Pedro, CA

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