Case details

Defense denied bus accident caused passenger’s injuries





Result type

Not present

back, lower back, neck, right wrist
On July 28, 2010, plaintiff Gabriel Gross, a diamond dealer in his 40s, was a passenger on a Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority bus, in Van Nuys. The bus was traveling on a busway, or road dedicated to buses, but which also crosses streets. Subsequently, as the bus was crossing Hazeltine Avenue, it was broadsided by a tow truck operated by Benjamin Tapia, who was coming from a side street. Gross claimed that the collision caused him to be knocked around inside the bus and sustain to his neck, back, and right wrist. Gross sued Tapia and the owner of the tow truck, Tapia’s employer, Top Notch Towing. Gross alleged that Tapia was negligent in the operation of the tow truck and that Top Notch Towing was vicariously liable for Tapia’s actions while in the course and scope of his employment. Tapia did not dispute liability for the accident. However, defense counsel disputed that Gross was injured in the collision., After the accident, Gross got onto another bus and rode it to the end of the line. He then called paramedics, who transported him to a hospital’s emergency room, where he was treated and released. Gross claimed that he suffered strains and sprains of his neck and back. He also claimed that he tore a muscle in his right, dominant wrist and that the trauma caused a ganglion cyst in his wrist, resulting in carpal tunnel syndrome. Gross underwent a few months of chiropractic treatment. He also underwent the surgical removal of the ganglion cyst and carpal tunnel surgery to his right wrist. He then saw an orthopedist four months before trial and was diagnosed with a disc herniation, as allegedly seen on an MRI. Gross claimed that he still has lower back issues and that he will require second surgery on his wrist. Thus, plaintiff’s counsel asked the jury to award Gross $69,000 in damages. Defense counsel disputed that Gross was injured in the bus accident and based his argument on a surveillance video taken from inside the bus at the time of the collision. Counsel noted that the video showed Gross seated on the side of the bus that was struck, facing the center aisle, with his back toward the side of impact. Defense counsel also noted that Gross’ only complaints to paramedics were for his back and that Gross did not mention his wrist on the date of the accident. Counsel further noted that Gross’ wrist injury was not documented in his chiropractor’s notes until four months after the accident. In addition, defense counsel disputed Gross’ alleged lower back complaints.
Superior Court of Los Angeles County, Van Nuys, CA

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