Case details

Motorcyclist claimed wrist and knee injuries from crash





Result type

Not present

fracture, knee, meniscus, tear, wrist
On Aug. 1, 2011, at approximately 1:30 p.m., plaintiff Paul Godwin, 38, an employee of the city of San Diego planning department, was riding his motorcycle on southbound Pershing Drive in San Diego when he was involved in a collision with a sport utility vehicle operated by Suzanne Dameron, who was attempting a left turn from northbound Pershing Drive onto westbound Florida Drive. Godwin claimed to his right wrist and knee. Godwin sued Dameron. He alleged the defendant was negligent in the operation of her vehicle. Godwin claimed that he was legally lane-sharing between two vehicles at a red light, and rightfully proceeded forward when the light turned green. He also claimed Dameron attempted a left turn against a red turn arrow light, without yielding to oncoming traffic. Godwin alleged that as a result, Dameron struck him with the right, passenger side of her SUV, causing him to be thrown into the windshield and landing on his back on the vehicle’s roof. Throughout discovery and jury selection, Dameron denied liability and claimed that she legally entered the intersection on a green left turn light. She also claimed that Godwin was responsible for causing the accident by entering the intersection too quickly and failing to see that her SUV was already in the intersection legally. However, Dameron ultimately stipulated to liability just before opening statements., Godwin sustained a fracture to his right wrist, and tore multiple ligaments and the meniscus in his right knee. He was subsequently taken from the scene of the accident by ambulance and brought to an emergency room. On Aug. 2, 2011, Godwin underwent open reduction and internal fixation surgery, with the insertion of a plate and screws, to his right wrist. He also received physical therapy for his right knee following the accident, followed by a manipulation under anesthesia on Oct. 27, 2011, in an attempt to regain range of motion in his knee. However, on Feb. 28, 2012, Godwin had his right knee surgically repaired. Despite treatment, Godwin claimed that he was left with a permanent limp from flexion and extension limitation of 15 degrees in his right leg and a 50-percent loss of flexion, extension and strength in his right wrist. The plaintiff’s orthopedic surgery expert testified that both the wrist and knee were permanent and would get worse over time. The expert also recommended that Godwin undergo future surgery to remove the hardware from his right wrist. In addition, the expert opined that the right knee would need two reconstructive surgeries over the course of Godwin’s lifetime. Godwin claimed his physical condition prohibits him from participating in normal daily activities, as well as in hobbies such as motorcycle riding, hiking and site visitations for his job. Thus, he sought recovery of $132,906.26 in past medical costs, $4,495 for the total loss of his motorcycle, $12,551.66 in past lost earnings, $218,450 in future medical costs, $1 million for his past pain and suffering, and $2.5 million for his future pain and suffering. Defense counsel conceded that Godwin was injured, and agreed that his alleged damages for past medical treatment, property damage and past lost earnings were reasonable. However, counsel argued that the impact of the was not as bad as Godwin claimed, and that there was no need for future surgeries or medical care. Thus, defense counsel argued that a jury verdict of $250,000 was reasonable.
Superior Court of San Diego County, San Diego, CA

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