Case details

Crash caused emotional distress over unborn child: plaintiff





Result type

Not present

bruise, emotional distress, leg, mental, neurological, psychological, radiculopathy, right knee
On the afternoon of June 3, 2010, plaintiff Melody Botello, 30, a social services worker, was driving north on South Lac Jac Avenue in Reedley when she entered the intersection at West Manning Avenue and collided with a vehicle operated by Tony Velasco, who was making a left turn from southbound South Lac Jac Avenue onto eastbound West Manning Avenue. Botello, who was 22 months pregnant at the time, claimed to her right knee and foot, as well as severe emotional distress. Botello sued Velasco, alleging the defendant was negligent in the operation of his vehicle. Botello claimed that Velasco failed to yield to oncoming traffic at the subject intersection, causing her to broadside Velasco. Velasco admitted liability for the accident, and the matter proceeded to a trial on causation and damages., Botello suffered black and blue bruising to her right knee, as well as strains and sprains due to the seat belt. As a result, she was taken by ambulance to an emergency room, where she was examined by an obstetrician and it was determined that the fetus was not injured. Botello then received palliative care, as needed, for six months. Botello claimed that despite being told that the fetus was not injured in the accident, she suffered severe emotional distress over the health and safety of her unborn child for the remainder of her pregnancy. She alleged she was deeply concerned and missed some work due to her recovery. Botello claimed she now experiences radiculopathy in her right foot, stemming from her knee injury, causing symptoms of numbness and tingling. She also claimed some residual knee discomfort and upper body muscular strains, but admitted she does not require any future care. Thus, Botello sought recovery of roughly $2,831.96 in past medical costs, $1,106.40 in past lost earnings and $50,000 for her past emotional distress. She also sought recovery for her future emotional distress and recovery of damages for her pain and suffering. Defense counsel disputed Botello’s alleged and damages. Counsel contended that Botello received a minimal amount of treatment for her minor and stipulated to $2,831.96 in past medical costs. Counsel also contended that Botello stipulated to $1,106.40 in past lost earnings. Defense counsel further contended that Botello’s emotional distress should have been alleviated following the birth of her child and that Botello’s emotional distress damages should be limited to $16,000.
Superior Court of Fresno County, Fresno, CA

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