Case details

Bicyclist claimed vehicle’s lack of headlights caused crash





Result type

Not present

hematoma, inner thigh., left foot, lipomright
At around 8:08 p.m. on May 15, 2013, plaintiff Marcela Mendoza, 34, a retail clerk, was riding a bicycle alongside North Palm Drive, in Beverly Hills, when she stopped at a stop sign at the intersection with Burton Way. As Mendoza started to cross Burton Way, her bicycle was struck by a Ford Mustang operated by Joseph Beauchamp, who was westbound in the number one lane of Burton Way. Mendoza was subsequently propelled over the vehicle and landed on the trunk lid. She injured her left foot. Mendoza sued Beauchamp and a prior owner of the driver of the Ford Mustang, Ronald Patterson. Mendoza alleged that Beauchamp was negligent in the operation of the Mustang and that Patterson was vicariously liable for Beauchamp’s actions. The claim against Patterson was voluntarily dismissed by plaintiff’s counsel shortly after the lawsuit was filed. Thus, the matter continued against Beauchamp only. Mendoza claimed that Beauchamp was driving without lights on after it was too dark to be safely seen and that Beauchamp was not paying attention to the intersection ahead. She alleged that since the Mustang did not have its front headlights on, she did not see Beauchamp’s vehicle before the impact. She further claimed that Beauchamp should have seen her bicycle with its lights on traveling across Burton Way in an unmarked crosswalk. Beauchamp conceded that his vehicle’s headlights were off at the time of impact. However, he claimed that there was sufficient lighting on the roadway and that Mendoza should have seen his vehicle before entering the road, if she were being careful., Mendoza sustained fractures of her left foot’s second, third and fourth metatarsals. She also sustained a hematoma and lipoma to her right, inner thigh. Mendoza was subsequently taken by ambulance to Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, in Los Angeles, where she was evaluated and released. Four weeks later, she underwent open reduction and internal fixation surgery to fix the fractures. She also underwent surgery 18 months after the incident to remove a lipoma that had formed as a result of the hematoma to her right, inner thigh. Mendoza claimed that she made a good recovery from both surgeries and had no limitations. However, she claimed that she was left with residual scarring and disfigurement of her ankle at the surgery site. As a result, Mendoza, who frequently wore high heels before the accident, reported that she wished to eventually undergo a scar revision surgery to her ankle and to have the hardware that was implanted in her ankle surgically removed. The defense’s expert orthopedic surgeon testified that Mendoza’s fractures were minor and that the surgery was routine. Thus, the expert opined that Mendoza had a good outcome with no problems or need for further care.
Superior Court of Los Angeles County, Los Angeles, CA

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