Case details

Motorist violated right of way and caused crash: motorcyclist





Result type

Not present

ankle, fracture, knee, left ring finger, right ankle, right knee, sprain, strain, tibial plateau
On July 18, 2011, at approximately 6 p.m., plaintiff Mario Cornejo, 31, a purchase coordinator for a soap manufacturer, was riding his motorcycle on northbound Baldwin Avenue in El Monte when he was involved in an accident with a vehicle operated by Kenneth Williams, who was pulling out of a gas station. Cornejo claimed that in his attempt to avoid the vehicle, he crashed his motorcycle to the ground, which landed on top of his right knee, and caused to his right knee, left ring finger, and right ankle. Cornejo sued Williams and the registered owner of the vehicle, Thomas Schrans. Cornejo alleged that Williams was negligent in his operation of the vehicle and that Schrans was statutorily liable as the owner. Schrans was ultimately dismissed by stipulation, since Williams was a permissive user of the vehicle. Cornejo claimed that Williams pulled out of the gas station in an attempt to cross two lanes of traffic to get into a left turning lane and that this violated his right of way. He claimed that as a result, he braked hard, but could not avoid crashing his motorcycle. Williams disputed liability, claiming that Cornejo was at fault for speeding and riding his motorcycle inattentively as he approached the gas station., Cornejo sustained fractures of the right knee’s tibial plateau and of the left hand’s ring finger. He also sustained a contusion and a sprain to his right ankle. Cornejo was subsequently taken by ambulance to the emergency room at a hospital, where he was hospitalized for four days. He ultimately underwent open reduction and internal fixation of his right knee with the insertion of screws and a plate. He also underwent surgery on his left ring finger, which included the insertion of a pin. Following the surgery, Cornejo was non-weight bearing and he followed up with six months of physical therapy and orthopedic visits. He claimed that while he is not currently treating, he still experiences traumatic arthritis in his right knee, for which he will require a total knee replacement within 10 years. Cornejo further claimed that he suffers occasional pain and some swelling in his right ankle, but that his left ring finger has healed. Cornejo claimed that he returned to work after three months off, but that he will require additional time off in the future to recover from his eventual total knee replacement. He also claimed he can no longer partake in any strenuous activity, including jogging, sports activities, and even walking or standing for long periods of time. Thus, Cornejo sought recovery of roughly $1.6 million in total damages for his past and future medical costs, lost earnings, and pain and suffering. Defense counsel did not dispute Cornejo’s past damages, but argued that it was not certain that Cornejo would require a total knee replacement. Counsel also disputed all of Cornejo’s alleged future damages.
Superior Court of Los Angeles County, Los Angeles, CA

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