Case details

Bicyclist: SUV’s unsafe turn out of driveway caused collision





Result type

Not present

back, fusion, leg, limp, thoracic
On July 10, 2013, plaintiff Karina Sanchez, 19, a culinary student, was bicycling on the sidewalk that runs along Arbor Vitae Street, in Los Angeles. As she rode past a driveway, heading against traffic, she was struck by a sport utility vehicle whose driver was attempting to make a right turn out of a parking lot. Sanchez claimed to her back, bowel and bladder. Sanchez sued the SUV’s driver, Thomas Corcoran; Corcoran’s employer, Avis Budget Group; and a related company, PV Holding Corp. Sanchez alleged that Corcoran was negligent in the operation of the SUV and that Avis and PV Holding were vicariously liable for Corcoran’s actions while in the course and scope of his employment. PV Holding and Corcoran were dismissed prior to trial, and the matter proceeded to trial against Avis only. Plaintiff’s counsel argued that Corcoran was negligent in the execution of his turn. Specifically, counsel contended that Corcoran was checking for oncoming traffic to his left, but failed to look to his right, where Sanchez was located. Counsel also contended that there was a row of vans in the parking lot that blocked Sanchez’s view of Corcoran’s vehicle. As a result, plaintiff’s counsel maintained that Sanchez could not have seen Corcoran’s vehicle until it was too late. Defense counsel maintained that Sanchez was fully responsible for the crash. Specifically, counsel argued that Sanchez was not paying attention to the road and recklessly rode her bicycle in front of the SUV. The defense’s accident reconstruction expert noted that Sanchez stopped prior to a previous driveway to check for vehicles coming onto the road. As a result, defense counsel argued that Sanchez should have stopped before the subject driveway, as well. Plaintiff’s counsel countered that it was unrealistic to expect Sanchez to stop at every driveway., Sanchez sustained abrasions and complained of pain in her back following the collision. As a result, Sanchez’s mother came to the scene and took her to Marina Del Ray Hospital, where Sanchez was treated and released. Doctors originally thought she had an injury to her lumbar spine, so Sanchez underwent physical therapy and was administered an epidural injection of a steroid-based painkiller into her lower back. However, doctors eventually determined that Sanchez actually had a herniated thoracic disc at the T9-10 level that pressed against the spinal cord. On May 19, 2014, Sanchez underwent a laminectomy, which involved an excision of a portion of an adjacent vertebra. She then had three to four months of physical therapy. In March 2017, Sanchez underwent a discectomy and fusion surgery at T9-10. She then had several more months of physical therapy after the procedure. Sanchez claimed that her caused neuropathy and that as a result, she continues to have a limp. She also claimed she is unable to ride her bicycle as a result of her condition. Sanchez also claimed that the crash left her with two years of bowel and bladder incontinence. While this condition improved following dietary changes, she allegedly still has some residual effects. As a result, Sanchez claimed she worries that her condition will affect her ability to date and get married. She also claimed she’s afraid that her will make it harder for her to get pregnant and carry a child in the future. Sanchez sought recovery of past medical expenses, and damages for her past and future pain and suffering. Defense counsel maintained that the spinal surgeries resolved Sanchez’s back problems and that Sanchez had no long-term .
Superior Court of Los Angeles County, Los Angeles, CA

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