Case details

Motorcyclist: Intersection crash caused lumbar fractures





Result type

Not present

back, fracture, lumbar spine
On Dec. 29, 2011, at approximately 5 p.m., plaintiff Michael Hughes, 50, an I.T. manager, was riding his motorcycle on westbound Franklin Avenue in Los Angeles when he attempted to cross the intersection at North Sycamore Avenue and collided with a sport utility vehicle operated by Paul Kalsman. Hughes claimed to his lumbar spine. Hughes sued Kalsman, alleging the defendant was negligent in the operation of his vehicle. Hughes claimed that Kalsman, 76 at the time of the accident, was northbound on North Sycamore Avenue when he turned left in front of his straight-traveling motorcycle at the subject intersection, causing the collision. Thus, he claimed that Kalsman failed to yield to oncoming traffic at the intersection. Kalsman claimed that he was traveling on westbound Franklin Avenue and that Hughes was lane-splitting on his motorcycle, per the police report. He also claimed that the front, right wheel well of his vehicle was struck after Hughes was cut off by an unknown blue van., Hughes sustained two compression fractures at the L2 and L3 levels. He was subsequently taken by ambulance to an emergency room, where he was fitted with a brace. Hughes remained in the brace for six months, and also received physical therapy and electrical stimulation. Hughes claimed that as a result of the lumbar fractures, he will continue to have ongoing limitations and pain. He also claimed he can no longer ride a motorcycle due to his condition. Thus, plaintiff’s counsel asked the jury to award Hughes damages totaling in the six- to seven-figure range. The defense’s medical expert testified that Hughes should have fully recovered within six months of the accident. Thus, defense counsel argued that Hughes’ ongoing complaints were from his pre-existing discogenic disease at L5-S1, which was unrelated to the accident.
Superior Court of Los Angeles County, Los Angeles, CA

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