Case details

Defense: Bicyclist contributed to crash by riding against traffic





Result type

Not present

back, bulging disc, lumbar
On Dec. 18, 2011, at approximately 10:30 p.m., plaintiff Kolawole Kazeem Olubodun, an unemployed man in his 30s, was riding his bicycle south along Sepulveda Boulevard in Los Angeles when he traversed the eastern crosswalk at the intersection with Santa Monica Boulevard and collided with a vehicle operated by Clinton Jesse Choate, who was making a left turn from southbound Sepulveda Boulevard onto eastbound Santa Monica Boulevard. Olubodun was ejected from his bicycle and landed on Choate’s vehicle. He claimed that as a result, he injured his neck, lower back, right shoulder and right leg. Olubodun sued Choate, alleging the defendant was negligent in the operation of his vehicle. Olubodun claimed that he entered the crosswalk on a white pedestrian signal and that he had front and rear lights on the bicycle he was riding. Thus, he contended that it was Choate’s responsibility to wait for traffic in the crosswalk to clear before making his left turn, but that Choate failed to yield to a bicycle rider in the crosswalk. Choate claimed Olubodun was wearing all dark clothes and had no reflectors on his bicycle. Choate’s wife, who was a passenger in his vehicle, along with the investigating police officer and an independent witness, all testified that Olubodun did not have lights on his bicycle. Thus, Choate contended that, combined with rainfall and it being night time, it was impossible to see the plaintiff before the accident. He further contended that Olubodun must have entered the crosswalk on a flashing red pedestrian signal, since the collision happened after the traffic light had turned red. In addition, he contended that Olubodun was riding his bicycle against traffic, and defense counsel obtained a negligence per se instruction to the jury that riding a bicycle against traffic was a violation., Olubodun was taken from the scene of the accident by ambulance and brought to an emergency room, where he complained of to his neck, lower back, right leg and right shoulder. He then followed up with an orthopedist, and underwent MRIs that revealed cervical and lumbar disc bulges at the C3-4 and L5-S1 levels. Olubodun subsequently treated with three months of chiropractic care and three lumbar epidural injections. He later received an additional two months of chiropractic treatment. Olubodun claimed he still experiences pain and discomfort in his neck and lower back. He claimed that as a result, he is physically limited in that he can no longer play basketball or perform other activities. He alleged that he was recommended additional injections to treat his pain, but that he ultimately chose not to receive them. Thus, Olubodun sought recovery of $29,345.81 in past medical costs, $45,000 in future medical costs, $1,466.98 in property damage to his vehicle, $8,310 in past pain and suffering, and $36,500 in future pain and suffering. Defense counsel contended that Olubodun suffered only minor soft-tissue and had no bulging discs. Thus, counsel argued that everything after Olubodun’s initial chiropractic care was unnecessary, in that the plaintiff overtreated with epidural injections and further chiropractic care.
Superior Court of Los Angeles County, Los Angeles, CA

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