Case details

Claimant alleged driver’s unsafe U-turn caused crash





Result type

Not present

arm, dislocation, fracture, humerus back head chest, shoulder, sternoclavicular joint
On Feb. 26, 2020, claimant Juan Ramirez Valencia, a 34-year-old on workers’ compensation from an unrelated incident, was driving south on State Route 29, in Lake County, when the front of his vehicle collided with the left rear of a vehicle that was operated by Miguel Chavez Garcia, who was making a U-turn from the right shoulder of southbound SR-29 to northbound SR-29. Due to the force of the impact, Valencia’s vehicle was pushed down toward the roadway, which caused Valencia to be ejected from the vehicle. Ultimately, both Valencia and his vehicle came to rest on the right shoulder of southbound SR-29. Valencia sustained to his head, back, chest, an arm and a hand.  Valencia brought claims against Garcia; Garcia’s employer, Hawk & Horse Vineyards LLC; and the owner of the business, Mitch Hawkins. Valencia claimed that Garcia was negligent in the operation of his vehicle and that Hawkins and Hawk & Horse Vineyards was vicariously liable for Garcia’s actions while in the course and scope of his employment.  Valencia’s counsel claimed that Garcia was negligent for leaving shoulder of the road and attempting to turn across SR-29 when it was unsafe to do so. Counsel asserted that Garcia drove his vehicle in violation of California Vehicle Code § 22106-CVC, which states, "No person shall start a vehicle stopped, standing, or parked on a highway, nor shall any person back a vehicle on a highway until such movement can be made with reasonable safety.", Valencia was taken by ambulance to a hospital, where a CT of the head and brain revealed a possible trace subarachnoid hemorrhage. X-rays of the left thumb showed a displaced intra-articular fracture at the radial margin of the base of the thumb’s proximal phalanx. A possible small tuft fracture of the middle finger’s distal phalanx was also detected. In addition, Valencia claimed he sustained a complex splenic laceration; a superior dislocation of the left sternoclavicular joint; a superior dislocation of the articulation of the left anterior first rib with manubrium; mildly displaced fractures of the spinous processes of the thoracic vertebrae at T3, T4, T5, T6, T7, T8 and T9; a severely comminuted, displaced and angulated fracture of the left humeral diaphysis; and hematomas in the left upper chest, lower neck and left axilla. On Feb. 26, 2020, Valencia underwent an exploratory laparotomy with splenectomy. An emergency ultrasound-guided, right femoral central line was subsequently placed. The next day, he underwent a left proximal to distal axillary bypass using a reversed, left, great saphenous vein. A thromboembolectomy of the left brachial, ulnar and radial arteries was also performed. That same day, he also underwent volar and dorsal fasciotomies of his left forearm, a left carpal tunnel release and debridement, and repair of the open tuft fracture of the left middle finger’s distal phalanx. Valencia then underwent an irrigation debridement of his left forearm and a closure of 35 centimeters of 50-centimeter wounds on his left forearm on Feb. 28, 2020. Also that day, he underwent irrigation debridement of his left, upper arm; an open reduction and internal fixation of his left humerus; and a repair of his left deltoid muscle. Two days later, on March 2, 2020, Valencia underwent a debridement and closure of 8 centimeters of the 15-centimeter open fasciotomy wound remaining on the left volar forearm. The next day, he underwent a split skin graft from his left thigh to his left forearm. At the time of the accident, Valencia was on workers’ compensation because of an unrelated incident. He has not been able to return to work after the subject accident. Valencia sought recovery for his past and future medical costs, and past and future pain and suffering.
Matter not filed, CA

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