Case details

Multiple-vehicle crash caused shoulder injury, plaintiff alleged





Result type

Not present

injury, rotator cuff, shoulder shoulder, tear
On Oct. 29, 2011, plaintiff Noel Cardona, 36, a drywall hanger, was driving his van in lane number four lane on U.S. Route 101, in the city of Los Angeles, when he began to slow to a stop and was involved in a three-car collision. Cardona was struck by a sport utility vehicle, which was struck by a Mercedes operated by James Lim. Cardona claimed an injury of his right shoulder. Cardona sued Lim and the owners of Lim’s loaner Mercedes, Auto Nation and Mercedes Benz of South Bay. Cardona alleged that Lim was negligent in the operation of the Mercedes and that Auto Nation and Mercedes Benz of South Bay were vicariously liable for Lim’s actions. Auto Nation and Mercedes Benz were ultimately let out of the case prior to trial. Cardona claimed that he was only traveling at an estimated speed of 5 to 10 miles per hour at the time of the accident. Thus, he claimed Lim caused the three-vehicle accident by striking the SUV, causing it to be pushed into his van, totaling it. A passenger in the SUV involved in the crash (who was not a party in this case) was called to testify as to the force of the impact. (The driver of the SUV was also not a party in this case.) Lim stipulated to liability, and the matter was tried on the issue of damages., Cardona first presented to an orthopedist 1.5 months after the accident and was diagnosed with a partial tear of the right, dominant shoulder’s rotator cuff. He ultimately underwent arthroscopic surgery on his right shoulder on March 21, 2012. However, he claimed he continues to suffer pain in his shoulder. Cardona claimed that his van was totaled, sustaining $2,340 worth of damages (which was paid pretrial), and that the force of the impact caused his injury. The plaintiff’s expert orthopedic surgeon also opined that Cardona’s shoulder injury was due to the accident. Cardona sought recovery of $51,000 in medical costs. He also sought recovery of damages for his past and future pain and suffering. Cardona previously made a loss-of-earnings claim and his wife, Lessett Escobar, initially brought a loss-of-consortium claim, but these claims were ultimately withdrawn prior to trial. Defense counsel noted that Cardona was not treated at the scene and only sought treatment for the first time 45 days later. Thus, counsel argued that Cardona’s shoulder condition was not caused by the accident. The defense’s expert orthopedist testified that Cardona’s injury could not have been caused by the accident, but was most likely caused from being a drywall hanger. The expert also testified that due to the delayed treatment, and lack of pre-existing complaints or prior treatment, Cardona’s shoulder injury most likely occurred after the subject accident.
Superior Court of Los Angeles County, Los Angeles, CA

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