Case details

Parties involved in intersection crash disputed right of way




Mediated Settlement

Result type

Not present

back, cervical, herniated disc, lumbar, neck, sprain
On Sept. 30, 2013, plaintiff Dulce Zavaleta, 31, was driving on eastbound Mission Boulevard, in Ontario, with her husband, plaintiff Pablo Ramirez, 40, and their daughter, plaintiff Edith Ramirez, 9. As their vehicle entered an intersection, it was struck on the front, driver’s side by a vehicle driven by Autumn Swenson, who entered the intersection from a cross-street. Zavaleta, Mr. Ramirez, and Edith all claimed to their back, while Mr. Ramirez and his daughter also claimed to their neck. Zavaleta, Mr. Ramirez, and Edith sued Swenson and the believed owner of Swenson’s vehicle, PSLQ Inc. Zavaleta, Mr. Ramirez, and Edith alleged that Swenson was negligent in the operation of her vehicle and that PSLQ was vicariously liable for Swenson’s actions. PSLQ was ultimately let out of the case. Thus, the matter continued against Swenson only. Zavaleta claimed that she had a green light at the subject intersection and, therefore, had the right of way and that Swenson ran through a red light, causing the collision. Plaintiffs’ counsel contended that Swenson negligently caused the collision by looking down at her radio while entering the intersection on a red light at approximately 50 mph. Swenson claimed that she had a green light the last time she looked before she entered the intersection., After the collision, Zavaleta complained of pain in her lower back, and Mr. Ramirez and Edith complained of pain in their neck and back. They were all subsequently taken by ambulance to a local emergency room, where they underwent X-rays and were discharged. Zavaleta was diagnosed with a 3 to 4 millimeter lumbar disc herniation at the L5-S1 level, with nerve root compression. She ultimately underwent a microdiscectomy. However, she claimed she was left with residual pain and limitations, affecting her ability to perform activities of daily living. Mr. Ramirez and Edith both sustained minor sprains of their neck and back, which resolved within one month after the collision. Thus, Zavaleta sought recovery of damages for her past and future medical costs, and past and future pain and suffering. Mr. Ramirez and Edith only sought recovery of their respective past medical costs.
Superior Court of San Bernardino County, San Bernardino, CA

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