Case details

Defendant claimed plaintiff’s attempt to pass caused crash





Result type

Not present

emotional distress, left shoulder, lower back, neck, pain, right eyelid drooping
On Aug. 14, 2014, plaintiff Henry Baguyam, 29, a registered nurse, was driving a rental vehicle on northbound Brighton Street, in Burbank. When he was north of West Verdugo Avenue, his vehicle was broadsided by the front of a vehicle operated by Irene Brandies, who was pulling out of an alley from Baguyam’s left. Baguyam claimed to his lower back. Baguyam sued Brandies, alleging that Brandies was negligent in the operation of her vehicle. Baguyam contended that Brandies unsafely pulled out from the alley, failed to yield the right of way, and broadsided Baguyam’s vehicle. Brandies claimed that she looked and saw no vehicles approaching from her right when she pulled out from the alley and that she had control of the street when Baguyam’s vehicle came around the corner and attempted to pass her. Plaintiff’s counsel called Brandies’ treating physician, a retinal specialist, to testify about Brandies’ eyesight. Brandies, who was 84 at the time of the crash, had ptosis, or droopy eyelids. Plaintiff’s counsel argued that Brandies’ condition decreased her vision and that in Brandies’ driver’s license renewal picture, which was taken six weeks before the accident, her right eyelid was drooping. However, the treating retinal specialist testified that he examined Brandies after the accident, on July 24, 2016, and noted that Brandies passed her vision test by Department of Motor Vehicle standards, even without wearing her eyeglasses. The retinal specialist testified that he performed retinal injections on Brandies for years for age-related macular degeneration and that when asked about her vision, he testified that although Brandies probably could not read an eye chart at the location of the collision, Brandies could see an oncoming vehicle. Defense counsel noted that there was inconsistency as to who was operating Baguyam’s vehicle at the time of the accident, as an independent witness stated that there were two additional people in the vehicle with Baguyam. Thus, counsel proffered that the actual driver fled the scene, as he was not an authorized driver of the vehicle. Defense counsel noted that Baguyam and the two others were on a road trip to Vancouver and that the person most knowledgeable from Avis did research and found that the alleged person who fled the scene was not added to the policy until seven days after the accident, when Baguyam flew from Vancouver back to Los Angeles., Baguyam sustained an 8- by 13-millimeter lumbosacral disc herniation/extrusion at the L5-S1 level. He first sought medical care eight days after the collision and underwent three months of chiropractic care. He claimed that although he had pain in his neck and left shoulder, the pain in both areas went away by the time he stopped chiropractic care. Baguyam also underwent an MRI and pain management, including two L5-S1 epidural injections, on his lumbar spine. He ultimately underwent an L5-S1 laminectomy and microdiscectomy. Baguyam claimed that he still has residual back pain and that he needs future therapy for his back pain as well as emotional distress. Specifically, he alleged that he underwent some therapy with his treating psychologist’s staff to address the psychological impact of the crash. He also alleged that his back pain caused him to quit his employment at the University of California, Los Angeles, in May 2015. Baguyam claimed that he now has fears of working as a nurse and in any lifting activity, as well as has a fear of driving. He further claimed that he is depressed and as a result, suffers from erectile dysfunction. Baguyam’s girlfriend testified about how their relationship was allegedly affected by Baguyam’s psychological condition, and Baguyam’s sister testified about how her brother’s personality allegedly changed after the accident. The plaintiff’s treating psychology expert opined that Baguyam suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder and depression and that Baguyam would need 25 more sessions of psychotherapy as part of his future care. The plaintiff’s pain management expert opined that Baguyam would require future ablations, physical therapy, and injections for the rest of his life. The plaintiff’s pain management and life care planning experts initially introduced a life care plan of $2 million, but, after exclusions, the amount was reduced to $249,000 in future care. Thus, Baguyam sought recovery of $140,000 in past medical expenses, $59,000 in past loss of earnings, $249,000 in future pain management, $500,000 in past general damages, and $500,000 in future general damages.
Superior Court of Los Angeles County, Los Angeles, CA

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