Case details

Defense denied motorcycle made contact with truck





Result type

Not present

arm, finger, hand, myofascial syndrome epidermis, numbness hand
On April 27, 2015, plaintiff John Sandoval, a painter, was operating his Kawasaki Ninja sport motorcycle on Beach Road, in Marina, when the front, left of the tire of his motorcycle allegedly came into contact with the front, left corner of a Denali pickup truck operated by Thomas Foster, who was proceeding from a stop sign at the intersection with a Walmart parking lot at Marina Drive. Sandoval fell from his motorcycle and claimed to his left hand. Sandoval sued Foster, alleging that Foster was negligent in the operation of his vehicle. Several people and entities believed to have maintained the trees and shrubs near the intersection were also initially named as defendants. Sandoval alleged that Bonnie Padrick, Jack Padrick, the Padrick Family Trust, the city of Marina, and/or Wal-Mart Stores Inc. failed to properly maintain the trees and shrubs in the area, causing them to be overgrown and limit the view down the road. However, the entities were dismissed early on after it was learned that Foster testified in deposition that he pulled forward a half car length past the limit line so that he could see down the road. Thus, the matter proceeded to trial against Foster only. Sandoval claimed he was traveling at 20 mph in the 30 mph zone when Foster pulled in front of his motorcycle. He claimed that Foster ran the stop sign and causing him to have insufficient time to avoid a collision with Foster’s vehicle. He alleged that as a result, his motorcycle struck the front, left tire of Foster’s vehicle, causing him to lay down his bike to avoid falling off of it. The plaintiff’s accident reconstruction expert testified as to several possible scenarios, including Foster running the stop sign and Foster stopping and looking left. The expert opined that in both scenarios, Sandoval would have been visible to Foster, but that Foster was not looking or did not see Sandoval. In both instances, the expert used 140 feet, as Sandoval’s testimony was that he was six to seven car lengths away when he first saw Foster’s vehicle, and used 20 mph as Sandoval’s speed prior to braking to determine that the “area of conflict” where the impact occurred was true. The accident reconstructionist also agreed that Sandoval laid down his motorcycle, instead of falling off it. Both the plaintiff’s and the defense’s accident reconstruction experts determined that Sandoval was going 15 mph when the alleged collision occurred. This was calculated from distances noted in the police report where the motorcycle came to rest, as well as expected slide characteristics of a motorcycle. Foster claimed that he stopped at the limit line at the stop sign and looked to the left, but that due to trees and the curve of the road, he had to pull forward a half car’s length to look again. He claimed he did not see anyone approaching, so he pulled out from the position and in his driver’s mirrors, he saw a motorcycle fall over. Foster, a motorcycle rider as well, went to assist Sandoval. The defense’s accident reconstruction expert went to the site of the accident, performed measurements and calculations, and reviewed documents. He opined that there was no evidence that Foster’s truck and Sandoval’s motorcycle came into contact and that if it was true that Sandoval was six to seven car lengths away when he saw Foster, as Sandoval testified, then Sandoval would have been visible to Foster at the stop sign and vice versa. The expert also calculated the line of sight from a pulled forward position to be 178 feet down Beach Road. He then calculated that for Sandoval to have not been visible to Foster, Sandoval would have had to been traveling at least 44 mph to be unable to reduce his speed to less than 15 mph at the area of conflict. In rebuttal of the defense’s expert’s 44 mph scenario, the plaintiff’s accident reconstruction expert opined that from a distance of 140 feet away, the motorcycle could not have slowed to 15 mph, given normal perception-reaction time., Sandoval claimed that he suffers from myofascial pain syndrome as a result of the accident. Following the incident, Sandoval called his father and girlfriend. His father then took Sandoval’s motorcycle back on a trailer, while Sandoval’s girlfriend drove Sandoval to the Community Hospital of the Monterey Peninsula (CHOMP), in Monterey. X-rays were taken of Sandoval’s left, non-dominant hand and ankle, and Sandoval was told to follow up with his primary care physician. He then followed up with his primary care physician and went to a chiropractor. Thereafter, his counsel referred him to a hand specialist, who performed an EMG and found that there were no cervical issues causing Sandoval’s symptoms of pain, tingling and numbness in his left arm and hand. As a result, the hand specialist referred Sandoval to a pain management physician, who diagnosed Sandoval with myofascial pain syndrome. The treating pain management physician opined that Sandoval would require opiates and monthly trigger point injections for the next 1.5 to three years. Sandoval was about 1.5 years into treatment at the time of trial, and the plaintiff’s treating physician opined that Sandoval needed another 1.5 to two years. Sandoval was working for a packing company as a supervisor before he saw his treating physician. Since Sandoval claimed he has no work limitations, he made no claim for wage loss. The defense’s expert orthopedic surgeon examined Sandoval and believed that Sandoval suffered some sort of soft tissue injury to his body, but also believed that Sandoval had a pre-existing winging of the scapula. The expert proffered that if Sandoval underwent a short course of four to six months of physical therapy to correct the underlying scapular winging, then it would have been reasonable, but noted that Sandoval did not do that. Thus, the defense expert opined that the incident exacerbated Sandoval’s pre-existing scapular winging problem and that it was reasonable to treat with Sandoval’s treating physician and expert for three injections to see if they work, but that if the injections did not work, then the injections were not treating the cause and would be unnecessary. Defense counsel noted that during Sandoval’s deposition, Sandoval denied any prior neck or back complaints, and denied any previous falls from his motorcycle or a fall from a ladder in 2013. However, counsel noted that during trial, Sandoval admitted to having previous back and neck pain and admitted that he previously fell off his dirt bike and that he previously treated for the fall off a ladder. Accordingly, Sandoval’s deposition was read into the record.
Superior Court of Monterey County, Monterey, CA

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