Case details

Minor plaintiff witnessed sister’s serious injuries in car accident





Result type

Not present

emotional distress, mental, psychological, zone of danger
On March 30, 2012, plaintiff Jenny Cher, 9, a student, was a rear-seat passenger of a vehicle traveling on Westmont Drive, in Los Angeles. Her sister, Mary Cher, 10, was also in the rear seat. While the vehicle was stopped at a stop sign at the intersection with Mount Shasta Drive, it was rear-ended by a vehicle operated by Victor Mathews. Mary, who was seated behind the driver, sustained to her head. Jenny suffered no but saw the incident. Tung Cher, acting as Jenny’s guardian ad litem, sued Mathews, alleging that Mathews was negligent in the operation of his vehicle. Mathews admitted liability. The matter originally settled for $3,500 on Oct. 18, 2016. However, the settlement was disaffirmed, and the matter was refiled on Oct. 27, 2017., Jenny witnessed her sister, Mary, become seriously injured in the crash. Mary sustained multiple facial fractures, including fractures of her jaw, sinus and occipital condyle, as well as a T12 transverse process fracture. Mary also sustained fractured teeth, causing a tooth to become lodged in a sinus cavity, and several other , including a traumatic brain injury. Mary was immediately taken to a hospital, where she was admitted for 11 days and her jaw was wired shut. She now requires continued supervision and help as a result of her cognitive impairments. Jenny witnessed her sister’s and long recovery. She also witnesses how her sister’s impairments impact her everyday life. As a result, Jenny, as a bystander, claimed she suffered emotional distress as a result of witnessing her sister’s initial while being in the zone of danger. Specifically, Jenny testified that since her sister was unresponsive after the accident, she believed that Mary had died in the crash. She further testified that as a result, she was emotionally impacted by believing her sister was dead immediately after the accident. Jenny sought recovery of damages for her past and future emotional pain and suffering.
Superior Court of Los Angeles County, Santa Monica, CA

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