Case details

Motorist’s unsafe turn caused wrist fracture: motorcyclist





Result type

Not present

lower back, right wrist, soft-tissue injuries
At around 4:30 p.m. on April 10, 2013, plaintiff Carmel Labate, 60, a rental property manager, was riding his motorcycle in the far right lane, the number three northbound lane, of North Glendale Avenue, in Glendale. When Labate was near the 300 block of North Glendale Avenue, near what is now a Dollar Tree store, a vehicle operated by Ralph Angrisani turned left mid-block, against opposing traffic, in an attempt to go into a shopping center. As a result, Labate could not stop his motorcycle and tried to avoid Angrisani by moving into a curbside parking lane, but still ended up hitting Angrisani’s vehicle. Labate subsequently claimed to his right wrist. Labate sued Angrisani, alleging that Angrisani was negligent in the operation of his vehicle. Angrisani’s employer, General Mills Inc., was later added as a defendant. Labate alleged that General Mills was liable for Angrisani’s actions, as Angrisani was in the course and scope of his employment at the time of the crash. Plaintiff’s counsel contended that Angrisani made an unsafe left turn, in violation of California Vehicle Code § 21801A, and that this negligent action caused the crash. Defense counsel contended that Labate was speeding and lane sharing. Thus, counsel contended that Labate’s negligence made him liable for the collision., At the time of impact, Labate slid forward on his motorcycle, but was not ejected. However, the motorcycle became stuck in Angrisani’s vehicle and remained vertical until it was later moved. Labate claimed that he sustained a fracture of the scaphoid in his right, dominant wrist and an aggravation of prior soft-tissue in his lower back. Emergency personnel were contacted, but Labate ultimately took himself to a hospital a couple hours after the crash. He was subsequently given a back brace to wear and told to refrain from heavy lifting for a period of time. In May 2013, Labate underwent internal fixation surgery, during which a screw was placed to repair the wrist fracture. However, Labate claimed the surgery failed, as the screw backed out, so he required a second surgery in December 2013 to replace the screw. Shortly after the second surgery, a nonunion of the fracture was discovered. Labate claimed that although his back injury resolved within a year of the collision, he still suffers from constant pain to his right wrist. All of the medical experts agreed that Labate will need additional surgery to his wrist or a possible fusion to eliminate pain, but that, regardless, Labate’s wrist mobility will be decreased to 25 percent or less. Defense counsel contended that Labate’s injured wrist was a result of the Veterans Administration Hospital’s surgeries, making the hospital comparatively negligent. The defense’s orthopedic surgery expert opined that Labate’s surgeons fell below the standard of care during both wrist operations. Specifically, the expert opined that during the first surgery, the scapholunate ligament should also have been repaired and that during the second, the surgeon should have used a vascularized bone graft. In response, the plaintiff’s orthopedic surgery expert disagreed with the defense’s expert orthopedic surgeon, stating that Labate’s treating surgeons did not fall below the standard of care and that there was no need to fix the scapholunate ligament or use a vascularized bone graft.
Superior Court of Los Angeles County, Los Angeles, CA

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