Case details

Bicyclist: Truck struck her after driver failed to check mirrors




Mediated Settlement

Result type

Not present

anterior cruciate ligament, emotional distress, knee, mental, nerve damage, neurological, neuropathy, psychological, reflex sympathetic, tear
On Nov. 4, 2008, the plaintiff, a 23-year-old recent graduate of theUniversity of California, Berkeley, was riding her bicycle on Webster Street in downtown Oakland when she stopped for a red light at the intersection with 19th Street. The plaintiff was in the far right lane, directly to the right of the cab of a tractor-trailer. However, when the light turned green, the tractor-trailer attempted to make a right-hand turn onto 19th Street, knocking over the plaintiff and running her over with the front tires of the truck. The plaintiff sued the truck driver and the trucking company that owned the tractor-trailer and employed the driver. The plaintiff alleged that the driver was negligent in the operation of the tractor-trailer and that the trucking company was negligent the hiring and training of the driver. The plaintiff’s experts produced a visibility study showing that if the truck driver looked at any of his mirrors or windows before or during the turn, he would have seen the plaintiff and avoided the accident. Plaintiff’s counsel contended that they deposed over a half-dozen witnesses and that none of them could conclusively state whether they saw a right-turn blinker working on the truck before it entered the intersection. An Oakland police officer claimed that, based on physical evidence found on the road during a police investigation, the accident took place outside of a crosswalk and, accordingly, the plaintiff did not ride her bicycle into the crosswalk at any point. In addition, plaintiff’s counsel contended that there were numerous inconsistencies in the truck driver’s testimony and that the truck driver was likely looking at two pretty female pedestrians crossing directly in front of him, from his left to his right, instead of checking his right-side mirrors and windows. Counsel noted that this likely explanation for the accident was established through the truck driver’s own testimony. Defense counsel disputed plaintiff’s counsel’s likely explanation for the accident. Instead, the truck driver claimed that he was not negligent because he had his right-turn blinker on and was constantly checking his mirrors before and during the turn. The truck driver also claimed that he had never even saw the plaintiff prior to the accident., The plaintiff was admitted to Highland Hospital’s Intensive Care Unit in Oakland, where she was put into a medically-induced coma and placed on a ventilator for days. The plaintiff was diagnosed with an “open book” pelvic crush injury and a collapsed lung. She also suffered a tear of her left knee’s anterior cruciate ligament, a closed fracture of her coccyx (tailbone), and pulmonary, bladder and lung contusions. The plaintiff also claimed she developed neuropathy to her left non-dominant hand as a result of the accident. Two weeks after her initial hospitalization, she was transferred to a Kaiser Permanente hospital, where she stayed for one month. However, during her hospitalizations, she obtained an infection that required weeks of intravenous antibiotics. In total, the plaintiff required four surgeries to address the pelvic fractures. Over time it was determined that the pelvic injury caused nerve disruption, resulting in total and permanent left foot drop. As a result, the plaintiff need san ankle orthotic to be able to walk. However, she claimed she developed complex regional pain syndrome, also known as reflex sympathetic dystrophy or causalgia, a chronic pain condition, resulting in permanent and significant neuropathic pain in her left leg. In addition, the pelvic fracture caused heterotopic ossification of the pelvic area, causing ongoing back pain and a fusion of her L5-S1 segment. The plaintiff claimed that as a result, she will eventually need fusion surgeries to treat her condition. She also claimed that her condition causes her severe emotional distress. Thus, the plaintiff sought recovery of $662,526.81 in past medical costs. She also sought recovery of $4,512,800.19 for the value of her life care plan, which included ambulation equipment, lifetime prescription medication to address pain management, psychological care and treatment, ongoing medical care, and at least one lumbar fusion surgery. Defense counsel contested that the bills were reasonable and customary, and asserted that the value of the plaintiff’s medical care was actually approximately $165,000. Counsel further asserted that the plaintiff needed, essentially, no future medical care and that her life care plan should be valued at $322,313.
Superior Court of Alameda County, Alameda, CA

Recommended Experts


Get a FREE consultation for your case