Case details

Pedestrian failed to check for oncoming traffic, defense alleged





Result type

Not present

back, brain, brain injury, cognition, depression, fracture, head, left hand, left leg, leg, mental, neck, psychological, transverse process, traumatic brain injury, vertebra
At 8:22 a.m. on April 10, 2013, plaintiff Yolanda Ignacio, 52, a house cleaner, attempted to cross three eastbound lanes in an unmarked crosswalk on Huntington Drive in Pasadena. The third, outside, lane had no cars and the second, middle, lane was occupied by a vehicle that stopped as the driver waived Ignacio on. Ignacio then ran across lane number one without looking to see if there were any oncoming vehicles. As a result, Marilynne Caracciolo, who was driving 40 mph in lane number one, did not see Ignacio until Ignacio was crossing right in front of her vehicle. Caracciolo subsequently braked, but struck Ignacio at approximately 15 mph. Ignacio fell to the ground, and sustained to her left leg, left hand, back, and head. Ignacio sued Ms. Caracciolo and the co-owner of the vehicle, Robert Caracciolo. Ignacio alleged that Ms. Caracciolo was negligent in the operation of her vehicle and that Mr. Caracciolo was vicariously liable for Ms. Caracciolo’s actions. Mr. Caracciolo was ultimately removed as a defendant by the time of trial. Plaintiff’s counsel contended that Ms. Caracciolo should have started slowing her vehicle as soon as she saw the brake lights of the car in the lane next to her, as the driver in the second (middle) lane was stopping for Ignacio. Counsel also contended that Ms. Caracciolo was negligent for failing to avoid hitting a pedestrian. Defense counsel argued that Ignacio was at least 50 percent liable for the accident because she did not look to see if there was any oncoming traffic prior to her running across lane number one., Ignacio suffered a fractured left fibula, a fractured left thumb, a fracture of the right transverse process at L4-5, and a mild traumatic brain injury. She was subsequently taken by ambulance to Huntington Hospital, in Pasadena. Ignacio underwent chiropractic treatment and, months after the accident, underwent a few physical therapy sessions. Ignacio claimed she suffers a permanent brain injury, which results in severe depression, memory loss, and concentration and attention deficits. She alleged that her past medical bills amounted to approximately $12,000 and that she would need a double discectomy and fusion at L5-S1 and L4-5 at a cost of $180,000. She also alleged that she would need a cervical discectomy and fusion at C5-6 at a cost of approximately $160,000, as well as additional physical therapy and several more MRIs of her spine and brain. In addition Ignacio alleged that she would need future psychiatric and psychological treatment for her other . Thus, plaintiff’s counsel asked the jury to award Ignacio $10,688,600 in total damages, including damages for Ignacio’s past and future pain and suffering. Defense counsel argued that Ignacio’s had resolved and that she would not suffer any future residual from the accident. Counsel also disputed the claim that Ignacio would require future treatment. Defense counsel noted that there was sub-rosa video of Ignacio doing things with her family members that she testified in her deposition that she could not do. Although Ignacio was absent from trial and could not be cross-examined, Judge Charles Palmer ruled that the video was relevant, but kept it out of evidence on the other grounds to which the defense objected. Thus, defense counsel suggested to the jury that the best person to clear up the inconsistencies between all of the experts was Ignacio, herself, but that she was, unfortunately, unavailable. In addition, defense counsel suggested that if the jury were to award Ignacio damages, it should only award $100,000, which should then be reduced based on Ignacio’s comparative negligence.
Superior Court of Los Angeles County, Los Angeles, CA

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