Case details

Moped rider claimed head and knee injuries from crash




Mediated Settlement

Result type

Not present

brain, concussion, head
At approximately 12:30 p.m. on April 6, 2009, plaintiff Lisbeth Bittle, 31, a manager of a pet care company, was riding her moped around Marin Circle in Berkeley, where multiple streets converge, when the right side of her scooter came into contact with the left, front bumper of a Berkeley Police Department vehicle, which was operated by Officer George Gravette. As a result, Bittle was propelled over the handlebars, while her moped was dragged several feet by the police vehicle. Bittle sued Gravette’s employer, the city of Berkeley. She alleged that Gravette was negligent in the operation his vehicle and that the city was vicariously liable for his actions. Bittle claimed that after stopping for a yield sign at Marin Circle, she was sideswiped by Gravette, who ran a stop sign in the vicinity. Plaintiff’s counsel contended that Gravette was negligent for failing to stop at the stop sign as he was neither on an emergency call nor in hot pursuit, as Gravette’s vehicle did not have sirens on. The city did not contest liability for the accident, but denied that Gravette ran the stop sign., Bittle sustained deep contusions to both legs and was taken by ambulance to an emergency room. She also claimed bilateral knee pain and a possible concussion from hitting her head on the pavement. Bittle required a few weeks of bed rest and followed up with a few months of physical therapy. She also underwent surgery to remove a hematoma on her right thigh in February 2011 and followed up with a few more months of physical therapy. Despite treatment, Bittle claimed that she suffered nerve damage in the accident, which caused her urinary incontinence for two months. She also claimed that she suffered headaches and nausea from her concussion for two years. Bittle further claimed that she was left with a 16-inch scar from the removal of the hematoma and still experiences knee pain. In addition, she alleged that she no longer rides her moped, and that she missed a combined total of five months of work after the initial accident and following her surgery. Plaintiff’s counsel asked the jury to award Bittle approximately $35,000 in damages for past medical costs, $7,000 in damages for future medical costs (which includes scar revision surgery), $20,000 in damages for past lost earnings, and an unspecified amount of damages for her past and future pain and suffering. Defense counsel disputed the nature and extent of Bittle’s claim for pain and suffering damages, but did not contest special damages.
Superior Court of Alameda County, Oakland, CA

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