Case details

Driver’s attempt to overtake two trucks caused crash: plaintiff





Result type

Not present

back, brain, brain damage, brain injury, cervical, fusion, herniated disc, neck, traumatic brain injury
On Aug. 24, 2018, plaintiff Ricardo Salcedo, 34, a farm laborer, was driving on the eastbound side of Mountain View Avenue, in Caruthers. The roadway comprised one eastbound lane and one westbound lane. A westbound motorist, Porfirio Amaya, veered onto the eastbound side of the roadway, to pass a box truck and a tractor-trailer. Salcedo braked to avoid Amaya’s vehicle, but his vehicle skidded to the left, onto the opposite side of the roadway, and struck the tractor-trailer. Salcedo claimed that he suffered of his back, his head and his neck. Amaya reentered westbound traffic between the two trucks, but her vehicle was struck by the box truck. Salcedo sued Amaya; the box truck’s driver, Daniel White; the box truck’s owner, Pacific Seafood – Sacramento, LLC; and that company’s parent, Dulcich Inc. The lawsuit alleged that Amaya and White were negligent in the operation of their respective vehicles. The lawsuit further alleged that the remaining defendants were vicariously liable for White’s actions. Dulcich was dismissed, and Salcedo’s counsel negotiated a settlement of the claims against White and Pacific Seafood. Terms were not disclosed. The matter proceeded to a trial against Amaya. Salcedo’s counsel argued that Amaya made an unsafe passing attempt and therefore was responsible for the entirety of the accident. Amaya’s counsel contended that Amaya made a complete and safe lane change. Amaya’s counsel argued that Salcedo was negligent in his reaction to Amaya’s lane change and that it was Salcedo’s actions that caused the entirety of the accident. Amaya’s counsel contended that Salcedo should have moved to the right, in the other direction, which was off of the roadway, instead of braking and moving to the left, into the opposing lane of traffic. In response, Salcedo’s counsel contended that, at the location where Amaya’s counsel claimed that Salcedo could have driven off of the roadway, there was a house with a fence alongside the roadway. Salcedo’s accident-reconstruction expert opined that if Salcedo had driven to the right at that point, Salcedo would have driven into the house., Salcedo was retrieved by an ambulance, and he was transported to a hospital. Salcedo ultimately claimed that he suffered a mild injury of the brain. He also claimed that he suffered herniations of his C4-5, C5-6, C6-7 and L4-5 intervertebral discs. Salcedo underwent surgery that included a discectomy — which involved replacement of his C4-5 disc and excision of his C5-6 and C6-7 discs — and fusion. His lumbar injury was addressed via administration of painkilling facet-block injections and epidural injections of steroid-based painkillers. Salcedo claimed that his brain’s injury prevented his performance of three years of work. He further claimed that he suffers lower back limitations, such as problems bending and with range of motion, as well as ongoing radiating pain. Salcedo’s expert neurologist opined that Salcedo would require fusion of a portion of the spine’s lumbar region. Salcedo’s vocational-rehabilitation expert opined that, unless and until Salcedo undergoes that surgery, Salcedo would not be able to work. The expert also opined that if Salcedo has the surgery and physical therapy, then Salcedo would eventually be able to resume work in a capacity that is not as labor intensive as his previous position. Salcedo sought recovery of past and future medical expenses, damages for past and future loss of earnings, and damages for past and future pain and suffering. According to Salcedo’s counsel, Amaya’s insurer refused to tender Amaya’s policy, in the amount of $15,000, so the policy was treated as open.
Superior Court of Fresno County, Fresno, CA

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