Case details

Pedestrian claimed serious leg injuries when hit by turning car





Result type

Not present

ankle, fracture, knee, knee contusion, laceration bimalleolar, leg, limp
On Oct. 10, 2008, plaintiff Jamie Owen, 28, a file clerk/swimming coach, was injured by a motor vehicle while walking her dog in Port Angeles, Wash. She was entering a crosswalk of a major street on a green light, when Florence Wilson, 89, made a right turn on red. Wilson first ran over Owen’s dog, and then struck Owen’s left ankle. Owen sued Wilson, who tendered her $25,000 insurance policy limits pre-litigation in order to settle the case. Owen then sought further recovery via the supplementary-underinsured-motorist provision of her own insurance policy, which was administered by Amco Insurance Co. The matter proceeded to a mandatory binding arbitration in front of Ernie Long, a private arbitrator in Sacramento. Owen claimed the accident was 100 percent the fault of Wilson, who violated numerous Washington statutes. She also claimed there were no visual obstructions so that, had Wilson been watching for pedestrian traffic as required by Washington law, Wilson could have easily avoided her and her dog. Amco Insurance contended that Wilson had the right of way because she had started her right turn before Owen left the curb. It also contended that Owen knew the car was approaching, but stepped into the crosswalk just as it turned into her and the dog., Owen was taken from the scene of the accident by ambulance and brought to an emergency room. She sustained a degloving injury to her lower, left extremity, a bimalleolar fracture of her left ankle and a laceration/contusion to her left knee. Her ankle fracture was subsequently reduced and stabilized. After three days of antibiotic therapy and dressings, due to the open nature of the fracture and the degloving injury, Owen underwent open reduction and internal fixation surgery on her ankle. Owen stayed in Washington for several weeks and then returned home to California, where she underwent extensive physical therapy and, eventually, hardware removal surgery at Kaiser Permanente, Vallejo Medical Center. Owen claimed she still experiences ongoing pain and limited range of motion in her lower, left extremity, causing her to walk with a limp. She alleged she will require future arthroscopic surgery for her ankle and knee, as well as an ankle arthrodesis. Owen missed approximately six weeks of work, and she claimed she is now limited in coaching and swimming due to ongoing ankle problems. Thus, at arbitration, Owen claimed $51,000 in past medical costs. She also sought recovery of $50,000 to $90,000 in future medical costs, along with general damages in excess of $1 million. Defense counsel did not dispute Owen’s past medical costs, but questioned the need for arthroscopic surgeries to the ankle and knee, while conceding the need for a future ankle arthrodesis. Counsel also contended that much of Owen’s ongoing problems, including atrophy to her left leg, were related to her congenital club foot, which had been surgically repaired during infancy. Plaintiff’s counsel countered the defense’s claims by submitting evidence from two of Owen’s long-time friends and acquaintances, including her swimming coach for 20 years, which stated that Owen had no limitations or limp, and no noticeable atrophy before the accident.
Matter not filed, CA

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