Case details

Garbage truck could have avoided crash, plaintiff claimed





Result type

Not present

arm, chest, clavicle, elbow, fracture, humerus, rib, shoulder
On Nov. 25, 2009, at approximately 3:30 p.m., plaintiff Oscar Batzyat, 48, an automobile repair shop driver, was driving a pickup truck on Sepulveda Boulevard in Los Angeles when he attempted to make a left turn from the second of two left turn lanes onto San Fernando Road. At the same time, Arcelia Ruelas was also attempted to make a left turn onto San Fernando, but was making the turn from the first left turn lane. While both vehicles were turning, they were struck by a garbage truck operated by Juan Tabares, who was traveling on westbound San Fernando Road. Batzyat claimed to his left arm, elbow, hand, rib, neck, shoulder and pelvis. Batzyat sued Ruelas; Tabares; the registered owner of Ruelas’ vehicle, Dina Cruz; and Tabares’ employer and owner of the garbage truck, the city of Los Angeles. Batzyat alleged that Ruelas and Tabares were negligent in the operation of their respective vehicles. He also alleged that Cruz was vicariously liable for Ruelas’ actions and that the city was vicariously liable for Tabares’ actions. Batzyat claimed that Tabares was inattentive and did not follow the rules for commercial drivers. The plaintiff’s accident reconstruction expert testified that, based on the police report and an eyewitness, Tabares could have avoided the accident. Thus, Batzyat argued that Tabares and Ruelas were comparatively at fault for the accident. The city claimed that the accident was caused by Batzyat and Ruelas, who both made an unsafe left turn. Ruelas claimed that her driving was not a substantial factor in causing the accident between Tabares and Batzyat., Batzyat was taken from the scene of the accident by ambulance and brought to an emergency room, where he presented with to his left, dominant arm, X-rays revealed a complete, double fracture of the left humerus and a fracture of the elbow. Batzyat also had glass embedded in his left hand, and underwent cervical X-rays that revealed degenerative joint changes at C5 and C6. After undergoing further CT scans, it was revealed that he also sustained a left pelvic fracture, a right twelfth rib fracture, and a possible left scapular/clavicle fracture. As a result, Batzyat underwent surgery on Nov. 25 2009, and Dec. 3, 2009, consisting of open reduction and internal fixation on his left arm and elbow with the insertion of screws, nail/rod and plates. He ultimately remained hospitalized for two weeks following the accident and was then transferred to a post-acute rehabilitation center, where he remained for seven months. Batzyat was later discharged in a wheelchair with multiple prescription pain medications, but later required hardware removal surgery on March 10, 2011. Batzyat claimed that he still experiences residual pain, discomfort and reduced mobility in his left arm (shoulder/elbow) and left hip. He also has multiple permanent scars on from his left shoulder down to his hand, and claimed that he is left with a limp, requiring the use of a cane to walk. He further claimed that his condition restricts his physical abilities at work. Thus, Batzyat sought recovery of $195,348 in damages for his past medical costs, $200,000 in damages for his future medical costs, $40,000 in damages for his past lost earnings, $35,000 in damages for his future lost earnings, and in excess of $5 million in damages for his past and future pain and suffering. Defense counsel argued that Batzyat’s condition had greatly improved since the accident. Thus, counsel disputed the need for, and cost of, Batzyat’s future medical treatment.
Superior Court of Los Angeles County, Central, CA

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