Case details

Hit-and-run resulted in leg amputation, plaintiff alleged





Result type

Not present

At approximately 10 p.m. on July 10, 2010, plaintiff Miguel Lopez-Coronado, 73, a retiree, was sitting in his front yard on Palowalla Drive in Mesa Verde, watering his grass, when a car allegedly containing five people came speeding down the street, crashed through two fences and struck him. The vehicle ran over his lower extremities, causing to his ribs and both legs, before the car the immediately left the scene. Lopez-Coronado sued the alleged driver of the vehicle, Jose Barrajas, and the alleged owner of the vehicle, Guadalupe Lopez, Barrajas’ sister. He claimed that Barrajas was negligent in the operation of his vehicle and that Lopez was vicariously liable for his actions. Plaintiff’s counsel contended that although the car left the scene of the accident, part of the vehicle’s license plate frame was left at the scene, which matched the remaining license plate frame on a burnt vehicle discovered by police. Counsel argued that Barrajas attempted to incinerate the vehicle, which was in his sister’s name, four hours after the accident. Barrajas and the four alleged passengers retained criminal counsel the day after the accident, and pled the Fifth Amendment. As a result, criminal charges were dismissed. Barrajas denied being involved in the accident, and neither he nor his sister showed up at trial. Defense counsel argued that Lopez-Coronado could not prove beyond a reasonable doubt that Barrajas was driving the vehicle during the accident., Lopez-Coronado was airlifted to an emergency room from the scene of the accident. He sustained a major crush injury to his right leg, consisting of many fractures and artery damage, resulting in an above-the-knee amputation. He also sustained fractures of the left leg’s femur and tibia, for which he underwent open reduction and internal fixation. Lopez-Coronado also claimed eight fractured ribs, and he spent an initial month and a half in the hospital. During his rehabilitation process, Lopez-Coronado dealt with infections, and he claimed he still deals with pain and discomfort in his left leg, for which he receives pain medication. He was ultimately fitted with a peg-leg prosthesis for his right leg, but still requires a wheelchair to ambulate. Thus, Lopez-Coronado sought recovery of $155,240 in paid medical costs and $1.5 million in damages for his past and future pain and suffering. Defense counsel argued that Lopez-Coronado was using a cane before the accident and already had very reduced mobility.
Superior Court of Riverside County, Indio, CA

Recommended Experts


Get a FREE consultation for your case