Case details

Pedestrian claimed drivers’ negligent actions caused crash





Result type

Not present

right foot
On April 10, 2010, at around 10:30 p.m., plaintiff Elise Guthmann, 25, a student, was leaving a restaurant when she was struck by a vehicle at the intersection of Victory Boulevard and Valjean Avenue in Van Nuys. After Guthmann separated from her group of friends, they heard the screeching of vehicles prior to the accident, but there were no eyewitnesses. Guthmann claimed to her right foot, but was unsure whether she was struck by a vehicle that pulled away from the curb on Victory Boulevard, which was being operated by Landon Poff, or by the vehicle that lost control and swerved into the corner of the intersection, which was being operated by Keith Brown. Guthmann sued Poff; Brown; and the owner of Brown’s vehicle, Audrey Shirmer. Guthmann alleged that Poff and Brown were negligent in the operation of their respective vehicles and that Shirmer was vicariously liable for Brown’s actions. Specifically, she contended she was struck by a vehicle that was either operated by Poff or Brown. The drivers of both vehicles disputed colliding into Guthmann. Brown contended that he was traveling on Victory Boulevard when Poff’s vehicle pulled away from the curb in front of him. He claimed that as a result, he tried to avoid Poff’s vehicle, but lost control of his own vehicle and swerved into the corner of Victory Boulevard and Valjean Avenue. However, Brown denied making contact with Guthmann. Poff contended that when he pulled out from the curb, Brown lost control and collided into Guthmann. Poff denied making contact with Guthmann with his own vehicle and claimed that Brown lost control because he was speeding. Prior to trial, Poff settled out of the case, but Brown and Shirmer initially refused to contribute any money from their own policy. Thus, Guthmann sought further recovery via the supplementary-underinsured-motorist provision of her own insurance policy, which was administered by GEICO. The claims was subsequently consolidated., Guthmann sustained a metatarsal fracture of her right foot, as well as numerous lacerations and contusions to the lower extremities. She was subsequently taken by ambulance to a hospital, where she underwent three surgeries, including an initial one at the emergency room. Following the surgeries, Guthmann, who was a rugby player prior to the accident, has no problems with ambulation and has made an overall good recovery. However, she claimed there is concern regarding a potential deformity to her right foot.
Superior Court of Los Angeles County, Los Angeles, CA

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