Case details

Broadside crash caused head injuries, plaintiff alleged





Result type

Not present

brain, cognition, concentration, concussion, head, headaches, impairment, mental, neurological, neurological impairment, psychological
On Jan. 4, 2011, plaintiff Michael Sleboda, 62, a Riverside Transit Agency bus driver, was driving an empty, off-duty bus southbound on Market Street in Riverside. At approximately 4:15 a.m., Sleboda entered the intersection with Mission Inn Avenue when an 18-wheeler truck operated by Jeffrey Cruz, who was traveling east on Mission Inn Avenue, broadsided the passenger side of Sleboda’s bus. Sleboda was allegedly thrown around inside the bus, causing to his head. Sleboda sued Cruz; and Cruz’s employer and owner of the truck, Werner Enterprises Inc. Sleboda alleged that Cruz was negligent in the operation of the truck and that Werner Enterprises was vicariously liable for Cruz’s actions through the course and scope of his employment. Sleboda initially also sued C.L. Werner Inc., as Cruz’s employer. However, it was determined that C.L. Werner was erroneously named and it was dismissed from the case. Sleboda’s employer, Riverside Transit Agency, brought a separate action against Cruz and Werner, seeking to recover paid workers’ compensation benefits. The two matters were ultimately consolidated. Sleboda claimed Cruz blew a red light at the subject intersection, causing the broadside collision. Cruz admitted fault for the accident, but claimed Sleboda was comparatively negligent for not wearing his seat belt., Sleboda was taken by ambulance to an emergency room. He sustained a laceration to his head, which was debrided and sutured. He was also diagnosed with a concussion. Sleboda remained hospitalized for observation for 10 days and then followed up with neurological testing upon his release through his workers’ compensation benefits. Sleboda has not returned to work following the accident due to cognitive impairments, including memory loss, concentration deficits, mood swings and severe headaches. He claimed his cognitive impairment was caused by the accident. Thus, Sleboda sought recovery for his past and future loss of earnings. He also sought recovery of damages for his past and future pain and suffering. His wife, Cheryl Sleboda, sought recovery of damages for her loss of consortium. Riverside Transit Agency sought recovery of workers’ compensation benefits previously paid to Sleboda, including $62,464 in medical benefits, $78,852 in disability benefits, and $147,217 for anticipated future impairment. Defense counsel argued that some of the medical treatment provided to Mr. Sleboda through workers’ compensation was for not related to the collision. Counsel contended that Mr. Sleboda suffered a pre-existing stroke, which exacerbated his medical recovery and prevented him from returning to work. Defense counsel further argued that had Mr. Sleboda been wearing his seat belt, his would have been much less severe.
Superior Court of Riverside County, Riverside, CA

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