Case details

Driver claimed lookout could have moved away from vehicle





Result type

Not present

scapholunate ligament, tear, wrist
On Aug. 8, 2009, plaintiff Bhupendraray Patel, 61, a self-employed businessman, was assisting his friend, Michael Fanous, in reversing his sport utility vehicle from a private driveway in Apple Valley. Fanous’ wife, Jace Comley, was not in Fanous’ vehicle, but acted as the front lookout as Fanous reversed the vehicle. During the course of backing up the SUV, Fanous struck a wall, trapping Patel’s left, non-dominant hand between the wall and the rear end of the vehicle. Patel sued Fanous and Comley. He alleged that Fanous was negligent in the operation of the SUV and that Comley, as the owner of the vehicle, was vicariously liable for Fanous’ actions. Specifically, Patel claimed that Fanous lost sight of him and should have stopped backing up. Defense counsel argued that Patel was a lookout for Fanous and all Patel had to do was move out of the way if he thought Fanous was getting too close., Patel sustained a moderately severe crush injury to his left, non-dominant wrist. He was subsequently taken by Fanous to a hospital’s emergency room, where Patel was given initial care. On Oct. 13, 2009, Patel had an arthrotomy, open reduction and internal fixation of the wrist’s lunate bone, which had been dislocated. He also underwent a repair of the wrist’s scapholunate, triquetrolunate and dorsal volar radiocarpal ligaments. In addition, Patel underwent a tenosynovectomy and carpal tunnel release to treat acute carpal compression. Despite undergoing the initial surgical phase to repair the ligaments and stabilize his wrist, Patel claimed that he has continuous pain in his left hand and was left with limited function in his wrist. In addition, he claimed a loss of grip strength, which causes him to have trouble lifting and playing golf. Patel further claimed that he had to take a couple of months off of work after his surgery. The defense’s orthopedic surgery expert opined that Patel would eventually require two more surgeries, including another complete arthrodesis of the left wrist with a bone graft to improve the function of his wrist and decrease pain, and a flexor tenolysis to improve Patel’s mobility in his left hand. Both parties agreed with the expert’s opinions. Patel’s wife, Diana Patel, was dismissed from the case as a plaintiff prior to trial.
Superior Court of San Bernardino County, San Bernardino, CA

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