Case details

Parties disputed location of plaintiff’s vehicle during crash





Result type

Not present

arm, chest, face, foot, hip, right ankle, soft tissue, traumatic brain injury
On Sept. 20, 2012, plaintiff Elva Cabral, a 56-year-old woman without a valid driver’s license, was operating a Dodge Neon four-door sedan on eastbound Kittridge Street — a narrow, residential two-way road — near its intersection with Darby Avenue, in Reseda. As she entered the intersection, the front, driver’s side of her vehicle was struck by a tow truck that was being driven by Elian Diab, whom, after stopping at a stop sign, was attempting a left turn from Darby Avenue’s southbound lanes onto Kittridge Street. Cabral claimed of her face, right ankle and foot, and soft tissue of an arm, hip and chest. Cabral sued Diab; the believed owner of the tow truck, Avedis Manoukian; and Diab’s employer, Grigor Khatcherian, who was doing business as Fast Auto Tow. Cabral alleged that Diab was negligent in his operation of the tow truck and that Manoukian and Khatcherian were vicariously liable for Diab’s actions while in the course and scope of his employment. Manoukian was ultimately dismissed from the case without prejudice once it was learned that he was not the owner of the tow truck. Plaintiff’s counsel located a witness who did not speak with the police after the impact and who claimed that Diab made a wide right turn, causing the accident. The witness also claimed that Diab reversed his tow truck after the collision, which altered the position of his vehicle. Defense counsel asserted that Cabral caused the crash. Specifically, counsel asserted that Cabral was driving in the middle of the road and that the accident could have been avoided had Cabral been driving in the correct lane. Defense counsel noted that a witness who had allegedly observed the collision told responding police officers that Cabral had been driving toward the left or center of the road. Thus, according to the police traffic report, Cabral was responsible for causing the collision because she had been driving on the wrong side of the road. However, plaintiffs’ counsel asserted that the alleged witness later testified at a deposition that she did not observe the collision and that she had only heard the impact occur form her apartment., Cabral sustained fractures of her right ankle and toe; a 20-centimeter laceration across her face; and swelling to her back, an arm, a hip, and chest. She also claimed that she briefly lost consciousness at the scene and had been profusely bleeding from her head immediately after the accident. Thus, she claimed she suffered a traumatic brain injury. Cabral was subsequently placed in an ambulance and taken to the emergency room at Northridge Hospital Medical Center, in Northridge, where she complained of pain that stemmed from her right ankle and foot. She was ultimately admitted to the hospital for three days, during which time she received pain medications and sutures to seal the laceration to her forehead. She also underwent X-rays of her right, lower extremity. On Oct. 26, 2012, Cabral underwent open reduction and internal fixation surgery, which addressed the fracture of her right ankle. Her right lower extremity was then placed in a large cast, which required her to use crutches to ambulate for four-to-six weeks. She was also prescribed a course of physical therapy treatment, which was rendered over a period of about five weeks through late 2012. During the years that followed, Cabral continued to monitor her ankle with her treating surgeon and she later underwent surgery to remove a lipoma that had formed around a hematoma on her right thigh. Cabral claimed that her ankle did not fully heal after the accident and that she would eventually require a revision surgery to address the 20-cm scar on her face that spanned from the top of her forehead down to her eyes. Defense counsel asserted that, based on the results of the Glasgow Coma Scale, in which Cabral had a score of 15, Cabral did not suffer a traumatic brain injury. Counsel also asserted that Cabral exhibited a normal gait during an examination with her treating orthopedic surgeon and that Cabral’s post-accident MRI images showed that she had a longstanding, pre-existing history of back pain. Defense counsel admitted that while the scar on Cabral’s forehead was causally related to the accident, Cabral was exaggerating the extent of the injury, and the cost of future revision treatments and medical care.
Superior Court of Los Angeles County, Los Angeles, CA

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