Case details

Passenger claimed drivers of bus and truck were both negligent





Result type

Not present

back, chest, fracture, head, hemothorax, knee, left hand, left knee, lower back, rib, shoulders, upper back, wrist
At 10 a.m. on Sept. 22, 2011, plaintiff Garret Gaeta, 55, a manufacturing supervisor, was a passenger on a limousine bus that was traveling at about 55 mph in the number-two (far right) lane on State Route 46, in Shafer. When the bus was just west of Kecks Road, it came up directly behind a tractor-trailer owned by A&B Trucking Services Inc. As a result, the bus operator, Gary Smith, braked suddenly and swerved onto the right shoulder in an effort to avoid impact with the tractor-trailer. However, at the same moment, the tractor-trailer turned in front of the bus and the vehicles collided. Gaeta claimed to his back, shoulders, left hand and wrist, and left knee. Gaeta sued the bus driver (and co-owner of the limousine bus company), Gary Smith; the other co-owner of The Limousine Scene, Michael Cotter Sr.; the owner of the tractor-trailer, A&B Trucking Services Inc.; and the driver of the tractor-trailer, John Tovar. Gaeta alleged that Smith and Tovar were negligent in the operation of their respective vehicles. He also alleged that Cotter was vicariously liable for Smith’s actions and that A&B Trucking was vicariously liable for Tovar’s actions., Gaeta suffered multiple rib fractures, upper back pain, a rotator cuff injury to the right shoulder, contusions to the hands and left knee, and arthralgia, or joint pain, to a lower leg. He also claimed he suffered lower back pain, lacerations to his back and head, a lacerated liver, and hemothorax. Gaeta was subsequently taken to Kern Medical Center, in Bakersfield, after the accident. He ultimately underwent a right shoulder arthroscopy to repair the rotator cuff on June 8, 2012. He then underwent post-operative physical therapy. Gaeta claimed that he was out of work from Sept. 23, 2011 until Jan. 19, 2012, and off again from June 8, 2012 until Aug. 3, 2012. He claimed that as a result, he suffered $6,120.16 in lost earnings as an operator at Chevron. Gaeta also claimed that he has some limitations in strength and that if his symptoms worsen or he has future problems with his right rotator cuff tendon, he will require future medical care for his shoulder. Thus, Gaeta sought recovery for his past and future medical costs, past loss of earnings, and past and future pain and suffering.
Superior Court of Kern County, Kern, CA

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