Case details

Pedestrian claimed accident caused brain and hip injuries





Result type

Not present

brain, brain injury, fracture, head, headaches, hip, injuries, sensory, skull, speech, tinnitus, traumatic brain injury
At 8 a.m. on Dec. 19, 2012, plaintiff Melinda Meza, 57, a mentally disabled retail worker, was in a pedestrian crosswalk at the intersection of El Camino Real and Hillside Drive, in Burlingame, when she was struck by a vehicle operated by Shirley Molinari. The vehicle then continued onto the sidewalk, where it crashed into a fire hydrant, obliterating it. As a result, a powerful stream of water shot into the air, flooding the area and soaking Meza as she lay hurt on the ground with head and hip . Meza, through her guardian ad litem, sued Shirley Molinari and the owner of Ms. Molinari’s vehicle, Andrew Molinari. Meza alleged that Ms. Molinari was negligent in the operation of her vehicle and that Mr. Molinari was vicariously liable for Ms. Molinari’s actions. Plaintiff’s counsel contended that Ms. Molinari ran a red light at a high rate of speed, bounced off a truck that was lawfully within the intersection, and veered diagonally through the intersection into oncoming lanes of traffic and into the pedestrian crosswalk, where Meza was. Ms. Molinari conceded liability., Meza sustained a displaced occipital skull fracture and a hematoma. She allegedly suffered a traumatic brain injury, resulting in persistent headaches, fatigue, dizziness, and ringing in the ears (tinnitus). She also sustained a contusion to her right hip, allegedly causing labral and cartilage damage within the right hip joint. Meza was subsequently taken by ambulance to Stanford Emergency Department for treatment, but she did not undergo surgery at that time. Meza was ultimately able to return to work, but she claimed she continued to suffer headaches and hip pain. She also claimed that future arthroscopic surgery was recommended. Thus, Meza sought recovery of past and future economic damages, and recovery of past and future pain-and-suffering damages. The defense’s medical experts agreed that Meza sustained a skull fracture, but opined that Meza did not suffer any permanent brain injury. Defense counsel also argued that Meza’s hip injury was not due to the subject accident, but was due to a pre-existing condition.
Superior Court of San Mateo County, San Mateo, CA

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