Case details

Bicyclist: Motorist failed to use caution before making right turn





Result type

Not present

fracture, leg
On Aug. 9, 2011, plaintiff Artemio Saucedo, 21, a dishwasher, was riding his bicycle on a sidewalk in Hawthorne. As he entered the street, a vehicle operated by Robert Maples, who was on West 135th Street and making a right turn onto Aviation Boulevard, struck Saucedo. As a result, Saucedo fractured his left leg. Saucedo sued Maples and the maintainer of the intersection, the city of Hawthorne. Saucedo alleged that Maples was negligent in the operation of his vehicle and that the city was negligent in the construction of a traffic control box that partially blocked the view of vehicles and pedestrians. Prior to trial, the city settled with Saucedo and was dismissed from the case. Thus, the matter proceeded to trial against Maples only. Plaintiff’s counsel noted that, admittedly, Hawthorne prohibits bicycle riding on its sidewalks and that Saucedo entered 135th Street on a “Don’t Walk” signal. As a result, Saucedo conceded 20 percent fault for the accident. However, Saucedo claimed that Maples was negligent for not looking to his right while he executed the turn onto Aviation Boulevard. He also claimed that there were obstacles (a traffic control box and a light pole) that were blocking Maples’ view of the sidewalk to his right and that Maples should have moved up to see where he was going before making the turn. Defense counsel contended that Saucedo violated numerous laws by riding his bicycle on the sidewalk and that Saucedo was riding in the opposite direction of traffic. Thus, counsel argued that Maples would not have been expecting to encounter traffic from the opposite direction, so the accident was not Maples’ fault., After the incident, Saucedo was immediately taken to a hospital, where he underwent an MRI and was diagnosed with a fracture of his left tibia. A few weeks later, on Aug. 30, 2011, Saucedo underwent surgery to repair the fracture and had hardware implanted. He then underwent post-operative physical therapy from Oct. 6, 2011, to May 15, 2012. Saucedo claimed he still experiences a minimal level of pain that occasionally requires over-the-counter medication. He also claimed that he still has minimal activity restrictions as a result of his injury. The plaintiff’s treating orthopedics expert opined that Saucedo should have the hardware removed in the future. The parties stipulated that Saucedo’s past medical costs, including the costs of his surgery, physical therapy and MRI, amounted to $93,000. Saucedo also sought recovery of damages for his future medical costs, and past and future pain and suffering. Defense counsel argued that there was no need for Saucedo to undergo a future surgery to have the hardware removed.
Superior Court of Los Angeles County, Santa Monica, CA

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