Case details

Defense: Motorcyclist’s unsafe speed contributed to crash





Result type

Not present

arm, fracture, humerus, nerve, neurological
On Aug. 19, 2012, at approximately 3:40 p.m., plaintiff Lucky Hoerner, 52, a carpenter/prop maker, was riding his motorcycle on northbound Interstate 5 in San Clemente when he was involved in a sideswipe collision with a vehicle operated Amy Jo Oster. Hoerner fractured his right arm in the accident. Hoerner sued Oster, alleging the defendant was negligent in the operation of her vehicle. Specifically, Hoerner claimed that Oster made an unsafe lane change, which resulted in a sideswipe collision that knocked his motorcycle to the ground. Oster claimed that Hoerner was 100 percent at fault for the accident by lane-splitting on his motorcycle and traveling at an unsafe speed. Thus, Oster claimed that when she attempted a safe lane change, Hoerner caused the sideswipe collision. Defense counsel called two independent eyewitnesses, who testified that they witnessed Oster make the lane change and that Hoerner was traveling too fast and splitting lanes. The police report on the accident list Oster as the primary collision factor for making an unsafe lane change and listed Hoerner as an associated factor for traveling at an unsafe speed for the conditions., Hoerner sustained a compound fracture of his right, dominant humerus. He was subsequently taken from the scene of the accident by ambulance and brought to an emergency room, where he underwent open reduction and internal fixation surgery on his arm. Hoerner claimed he also sustained radial nerve damage and developed a non-union of his fracture. As a result, he underwent additional surgery to repair both the non-union and nerve damage. He also received physical therapy throughout his recovery. Hoerner is now on total disability/social security. He claimed that he requires tendon release surgery for his right arm and that he will be able to return to limited work duty after the surgery. However, he alleged that he can never work as a carpenter again due to the permanent weakness in his right hand. Hoerner also alleged that he is restricted from several activities, including riding his motorcycle. Thus, Hoerner sought $145,000 in past medical costs, $21,000 in future medical costs, $85,000 in past lost earnings, $810,000 in future loss of earning capacity, $250,000 in damages for his past pain and suffering, and $1 million in damages for his future pain and suffering. Defense counsel argued that Hoerner could return to work in another field and earn the same salary that he did as a carpenter.
Superior Court of Orange County, Santa Ana, CA

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