Case details

Bicyclist claimed shoulder injury from crash





Result type

Not present

labrum, shoulder, tear
On March 10, 2010, plaintiff Michael Spriesterbach, 25, a student, was riding his bicycle on the sidewalk of National Boulevard in Los Angeles. At approximately 4:30 p.m., as Spriesterbach he was passing the parking lot of a Ralph’s Supermarket, he was struck by a vehicle operated by Janice Holland, who was exiting the parking lot. Spriesterbach claimed a serious injury to his left shoulder. Spriesterbach sued Holland and the owner of the vehicle, Charles Holland. He alleged that Mrs. Holland was negligent in the operation of her vehicle and that her husband, Mr. Holland, was vicariously liable for her actions. Mr. Holland was dismissed from the case prior to trial. Spriesterbach claimed that Mrs. Holland failed to yield to his bicycle as she was exiting the parking lot. He claimed that Mrs. Holland was looking to her left as she pulled out of the lot, and didn’t notice his passing bicycle as she accelerated into the street. Spriesterbach claimed that as a result, the front of Mrs. Holland’s car impacted his bicycle, causing him to land on the street. Holland contended that she was not at fault, and that Spriesterbach was the sole proximate cause of the accident. She claimed that Spriesterbach was riding his bicycle against sidewalk traffic, in violation of California Law, and that he was riding at a higher rate of speed (roughly 8 to 12 mph) than he had alleged. In addition, Holland disputed the plaintiff’s claim about where he landed, alleging that Spriesterbach landed on the parking lot exit apron after the accident. Plaintiff’s counsel responded that there is no statute in the city of Los Angeles against riding a bicycle in the opposite direction of sidewalk traffic. Spriesterbach also countered that he was riding his bicycle in the lowest gear, at a speed similar to a person walking., Spriesterbach treated with an orthopedist two days after the accident. He complained of bilateral shoulder pain and bruising to his knees. When he complained of lingering pain in his left shoulder, he underwent an X-ray and MRI, which revealed a possible labral tear. Spriesterbach tried to treat the injury conservatively with physical therapy, but stopped after two sessions, claiming it was not working. In June 2011, he underwent arthroscopic surgery on his left shoulder to repair the torn labrum. Spriesterbach claimed that he still experiences some residual pain, discomfort and reduced range of motion in his left shoulder. He alleged that as a result, his overhead activities are limited. Thus, Spriesterbach sought recovery of $94,562.07 in past medical costs and an unspecified amount in damages for his pain and suffering. Defense counsel contested the severity of Spriesterbach’s injury, arguing that it was not a full labral tear and that any alleged shoulder injury was caused by the plaintiff being overweight. Counsel further argued that the arthroscopic surgery was unnecessary. In addition, defense counsel contested the price of the surgery, claiming that it should have been a less-expensive, outpatient procedure.
Superior Court of Los Angeles County, Santa Monica, CA

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