Case details

Defense: Bus passenger lost balance while putting down items





Result type

Not present

arm, as well as neck, hand, right rib, shoulder, upper back, wrist
On Dec. 2, 2011, plaintiff Michael Samrena, 70, a freelance exerciser of thoroughbred horses, boarded a Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority bus and walked toward a seat. As the bus started to move, Samrena fell. He claimed to his right rib, shoulder, arm, hand and wrist, as well as to his neck and upper back. Samrena sued the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority; the transportation authority’s claims adjuster, Mark Gonzales; and Gonzales’ employer, Carl Warren & Co. Samrena alleged that the bus driver was negligent in the operation of the bus and that the transportation authority was liable for the driver’s actions. Carl Warren & Co. and Gonzales were ultimately dismissed from the case by the time of trial. Samrena claimed that after he boarded the bus, it started to move as he was still walking towards a seat. He claimed the bus turned right and then left, and then accelerated and swerved to the left while he was standing by a seat. Thus, plaintiff’s counsel contended that the bus driver failed to make sure Samrena was seated before leaving the bus stop and that the driver was operating the bus at an excessive speed, causing Samrena to fall. The defense’s accident reconstruction expert located where the bus was at every stage of the subject time frame during his reconstruction of the incident. The expert determined that the bus started to move about one second before Samrena lost his balance. Defense counsel contended that the bus was at a full stop until Samrena was standing by his seat. Counsel also contended that once Samrena was standing by a seat, the bus began to move from the bus stop, but that Samrena simply lost his balance as he was leaning over a seat to put down some items that he was carrying. Thus, defense counsel argued that the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority bus operator was not negligent., On Dec. 7, 2011, Samrena presented to the emergency room at Methodist Hospital, in Arcadia. He was diagnosed with a fracture of a right rib. Samrena also claimed soft-tissue to his right shoulder, arm, hand and wrist, as well as to his neck and upper back. He subsequently treated with approximately three months of chiropractic sessions. Samrena claimed that his were all resolved by the end of 2012. Defense counsel disputed Samrena’s alleged soft-tissue , as well as disputed the cause of Samrena’s soft-tissue and rib . Counsel contended that Samrena’s rib fracture was not caused by the subject fall, but may have occurred sometime thereafter, as Samrena did not demonstrate any injury on the photographs taken by the bus’s DVR camera system while Samrena was on the bus. Counsel also noted that Samrena did not seek medical attention until five days after the accident. Defense counsel argued that Samrena’s chiropractic treatment and medical specials from the hospital were not reasonable or necessary. Counsel also contended that the chiropractic billing records did not match Samrena’s chiropractic treatment records.
Superior Court of Los Angeles County, Los Angeles, CA

Recommended Experts


Get a FREE consultation for your case