Case details

Defense claimed driver must have tried to beat lowering gate





Result type

Not present

On July 26, 2012, plaintiff Gerard Friend, an attorney, was a passenger in a Nissan Altima that was being operated by his employee. As the Altima went under an access gate to enter a parking lot of a public storage lot in Los Angeles, the rear, driver’s side quarter panel was struck by a vehicle operated by Li Qi, who was backing out of a parking space next to the gate. Friend claimed to his back. Friend sued Qi, alleged that Qi was negligent in the operation of his motor vehicle. The driver of the Altima, Friend’s employee, testified that she stopped her vehicle before the access gate, got out of the vehicle to enter the code for the gate, got back into her vehicle, and then drove into the parking lot. She claimed that soon after entering the parking lot, Qi struck her. Friend testified that before the collision occurred, he could not remember whether there was a pause between when his employee left the street to enter the parking lot and when the accident occurred. Qi claimed that he was in the first parking space to the left of the gate and that he was adjusting in the space prior to contact. He also claimed that he looked at the entrance as he was re-adjusting his vehicle and that there was no one there. Thus, he alleged that the Altima carrying Friend must have entered the parking log only seconds later. Defense counsel noted the inconsistency in the employee’s testimony versus Friend’s testimony. Thus, counsel argued that the employee must have tried to beat the lowering gate and was immediately behind Qi when Qi was just about to re-adjust in his parking space. In response, the plaintiff’s biomechanical engineering expert testified that an individual cannot look at two directions at the same time, so the plaintiff’s vehicle probably wasn’t in sight when Qi looked left., Friend claimed that he started to feel the pain in his back immediately after the collision. Thus, he claimed the impact caused a significant aggravation to his prior back condition. Friend sought recovery of $97,241 in past medical costs and $200,000 in future medical costs. Defense counsel argued that the low-speed impact was inconsistent with Friend’s aggravation claim. In addition, counsel argued that Friend’s pre-existing problems would have required the same treatment in the future, regardless of the subject crash.
Superior Court of Los Angeles County, Los Angeles, CA

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