Case details

Passenger: Intersection crash caused pelvic and brain injuries





Result type

Not present

blunt force trauma to the head, brain, brain injury, fracture, head, headaches, pain, right hip, right pelvic rami, traumatic brain injury
On Feb. 11, 2013, plaintiff Jennifer Castillo Rodriguez, 19, was a front seat passenger in a Honda Civic operated by Tamara De La O Castro and traveling on northbound Atlantic Avenue, in Los Angeles. As they began a left turn at an intersection, their vehicle was struck on the right, passenger’s side by a Chrysler Pacifica operated by Maria Fatima Inciong. Rodriguez claimed that she sustained brain damage and a pelvis injury. Rodriguez sued the driver of her vehicle, Tamara De La O Castro; the driver of the Chrysler Pacifica, Maria Fatima Inciong; and the owner of Inciong’s vehicle, Pedro Vera Vallagran. Rodriguez alleged that De La O Castro and Inciong were negligent in the operation of their respective vehicles. She also alleged that Vallagran was vicariously liable for Inciong’s actions. The plaintiff’s accident reconstruction expert opined that the primary collision factor was De La O Castro’s left turn. Inciong and De La O Castro each claimed that they entered the intersection on a yellow light. Inciong’s accident reconstruction expert agreed with the plaintiff’s accident reconstruction expert’s opinion that the cause of collision was De La O Castro’s left turn. De La O Castro claimed that she entered the intersection on a yellow light, but that she waited for the light to turn red before attempting to complete her turn. However, she claimed that she never saw Inciong’s vehicle until the impact. De La O Castro’s accident reconstruction expert opined that Inciong ran a red light at the intersection and that Inciong had plenty of time to stop at the yellow light, but failed to do so. He also opined that Inciong was not paying attention and that Inciong was unfamiliar with the area where the accident occurred. Thus, De La O Castro’s counsel argued that Inciong was 100 percent at fault for running the red light., Rodriguez was rendered unconscious after the impact and had to be extracted from the vehicle with the Jaws of Life. She was then taken by ambulance to the emergency room at Long Beach Memorial Medical Center, in Long Beach. Rodriguez was ultimately diagnosed with blunt force trauma to her head, resulting in a brain injury; a comminuted fracture of the right pelvis; and a displaced comminuted fracture of the sacrum, which extended to the right sacroiliac joint, with a pelvic hematoma and sacral neural foramina. A CT scan showed a small, left frontal hemorrhagic contusion and an intracranial hemorrhage. Two days later, on Feb. 13, 2013, Rodriguez underwent a closed reduction of the right sacral fracture with percutaneous screw fixation. She also underwent post-percutaneous pinning of the right sacroiliac joint and right pelvic rami fracture. Rodriguez was then discharged from the hospital on Feb. 16, 2013. Rodriguez claimed that she continues to have ongoing moderate-to-severe pain in her right hip area and suffers from headaches. She alleged that as a result of the pain in her hip, she can only work four or five hours a day. The plaintiff’s treating orthopedist recommended that Rodriguez undergo follow-up sacroiliac surgery and possible spinal surgery for an L5 pars defect that may have been aggravated by the subject accident. However, he opined that since Rodriguez was still having pain one year after the accident, Rodriguez would have ongoing pain for the rest of her life. Thus, Rodriguez sought recovery of past and future medical costs, past loss of earnings, and future loss of earnings and earning capacity. She also sought recovery of damages for her past and future pain and suffering. Castro’s expert orthopedist opined that Rodriguez made a good recovery from surgery and that no future medical care was needed. He also noted that Rodriguez was dancing at a club three months after the accident. Thus, Castro’s expert orthopedist opined that Rodriguez had no restrictions on her recreation or work activities and that Rodriguez could work full-time.
Superior Court of Los Angeles County, Long Beach, CA

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