Case details

Motorcycle passenger claimed leg injuries from collision





Result type

Not present

fracture, leg
On July 20, 2014, plaintiff Laura Hambrook, an unemployed 51 year old, was a passenger on a Harley Davidson motorcycle driven by Jimmie Lafitte and traveling on southbound State Route 1, also known as Cabrillo Highway, in Moss Landing in Monterey County. At around 6:15 p.m., when they were south of the intersection with Potrero Road, Lafitte allegedly attempted to pass a Saturn vehicle operated by David Pierce, who was traveling in the same direction. As Lafitte was allegedly passing on the right shoulder of the roadway, Pierce attempted a right turn into a nearby parking lot and collided with Lafitte’s motorcycle. Hambrook was pinned between Pierce’s vehicle and Lafitte’s motorcycle and sustained to her left leg. Hambrook sued Lafitte and Pierce, alleging the motorists were negligent in the operation of their respective vehicles. Hambrook also brought a separate suit against Lafitte; the owner of the land the parking lot was on, Sunset Farms Inc.; the operator of the business located there, Randy Moreno, who was doing business as Farm Fresh Produce; and the maintainers of the roadway at the subject location, the state of California and the California Department of Transportation. Hambrook alleged that Sunset Farms, Moreno, the state, and Caltrans were negligent in the maintenance of the subject location, creating dangerous conditions. The matters were ultimately consolidated. However, Pierce settled out of the case and the other parties were dismissed. Thus, the matter continued against Lafitte only. Plaintiff’s counsel noted that, according to the California Highway Patrol, Lafitte was found at fault for passing on the right shoulder into the path of Pierce’s turning vehicle. Lafitte claimed that he was not passing on the shoulder of the road and that the collision occurred in the parking lot, when he was parking. Thus, he claimed that he was not at fault for the accident., Hambrook suffered a grade IIIB open fracture of her left leg’s tibia and fibula. (A grade IIIB fracture is an open fracture with extensive soft tissue loss, periosteal stripping, and bone exposure.) Hambrook was subsequently air evacuated by CALSTAR, an air medical services company, and brought to Regional Medical Center’s Trauma Center, in San Jose, where she underwent emergency surgery. Her compound fracture later developed a persistent bone infection, osteomyelitis, and required multiple additional surgeries, including an exchange nailing, an antibiotic rodding, and multiple irrigation and debridements. The plaintiff’s treating orthopedic surgeon, Dr. David Lowenberg, testified that his prognosis was that if Hambrook received one more surgery, a free tissue transfer, 95 percent of the infection would be cured and without future residual problems. However, Hambrook claimed that she will suffer from an unknown amount of future physical limitations. Thus, Hambrook sought recovery of damages for past and future pain and suffering. (She did not seek recovery of medical expenses at trial.) Lafitte’s counsel noted that Lafitte had a minimal $15,000 insurance policy that was timely offered, but that Hambrook refused the minimal policy and sought a judgment against Lafitte’s personal assets. Counsel also noted that one of Hambrook’s treating orthopedic surgeons, Dr. Paul Toogood, recommended a below-the-knee amputation.
Superior Court of Monterey County, Monterey, CA

Recommended Experts


Get a FREE consultation for your case