Case details

Defense: Panic caused scooter rider to lose control and crash





Result type

Not present

fracture, knee, tibial plateau
On Oct. 11, 2011, plaintiff Sharon Smith, 46, a substitute school teacher, was riding her motor scooter in an eastbound lane of San Fernando Road in Glendale. When she was just east of Winchester Avenue and west of the driveway to Golden Farms Market, she encountered a taxicab operated by Majid Moghaddam, who was attempting to exit a parking lot. As a result, Smith suddenly applied her brakes and lost control of her scooter, causing it to go down on its side and skid for 28 feet. There was no physical contact between the scooter and the cab. Smith sustained to her left knee and left shoulder. Smith sued Moghaddam, who is a long-time taxicab driver, but was not in service at the time of this accident. She also sued Tri City Transport System Inc., which was Moghaddam’s employer and the owner of the taxicab. Smith alleged that Moghaddam was negligent in the operation of the taxicab and that Tri City Transport System was vicariously liable for Moghaddam’s actions. Smith claimed that, before entering the roadway, Moghaddam failed to yield to traffic close enough to constitute an immediate hazard. Thus, she claimed that Moghaddam cut her off by exiting the parking lot in front of her, and that Moghaddam’s actions caused her to suddenly apply her brakes and lose control of her scooter. Moghaddam and Tri City Transport System disputed liability for the accident. Moghaddam claimed that he was not negligent in the operation of his taxicab because he yielded to Smith and never entered into her path of travel. Thus, defense counsel argued that Moghaddam was not responsible for the accident and that Smith being inattentive caused the incident. Counsel further argued that Smith’s lack of experience and training in the operation of the motor scooter caused her to panic brake and overreact., Smith sustained a tibial plateau fracture to her left knee. She also claimed an injury to her left shoulder and multiple abrasions and contusions. She was subsequently transported to the emergency room at Glendale Memorial Hospital and Health Center in Glendale. Two days later, she underwent surgery, which included the insertion of a plate in her left leg. Smith claimed that she developed post-traumatic arthritis in her left knee as a result of the accident. She ultimately underwent a second surgery, consisting of a total knee replacement, on July 30, 2013. Smith claimed that she will require at least two more knee replacement surgeries in the future. Plaintiff’s counsel contended that Smith’s past medical expenses totaled $293,753.66 and that Smith’s future medical expenses will amount to a total of $360,000. Thus, counsel asked the jury to award for Smith’s past and future medical expenses, as well as award damages for Smith’s past and future pain and suffering.
Superior Court of Los Angeles County, Van Nuys, CA

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