Case details

Pedestrian: Low sidewalk caused driver to hit him





Result type

Not present

amputation, leg
At approximately 3:50 p.m. on Dec. 5, 2009, plaintiff Henry Schmidt, 26, a clerk, was in front of a CVS in El Dorado County, when a driver attempting to park his sport utility vehicle hopped the sidewalk and struck him. At the time of the accident, Schmidt was pushing a cart on the sidewalk between the CVS and the parking area as part of his duties as a CVS employee when the driver, attempting to pull into a parking spot in front of CVS, struck a landscaped curb on the right side of the vehicle. As a result, the driver lost control of the SUV, drove over the low sidewalk curb and strike Schmidt, crushing him against a concrete pillar located in front of the CVS. Schmidt sued the driver, the shopping center owner, and the developer of the shopping center. He alleged that the driver was negligent in the operation of his vehicle, and that the developer and owner of the shopping center were negligent in the construction and maintenance of the parking lot and sidewalk, creating a dangerous condition. Plaintiff’s counsel contended that the driver struck the landscaped curb because the parking space was narrower than that prescribed by El Dorado County codes and because the radius of the landscaped curb was too narrow under those same codes. Counsel further contended that the curb at the front of the parking space was too low, and that there should have been a bumper barrier between the parking area and the sidewalk in front of the concrete pillar in order to protect pedestrians. The property owner and developer each contended that the proximate cause of the accident was solely the actions of the driver., Schmidt was taken from the scene of the accident and hospitalized for over a month. He suffered a fracture to his left, lower leg. He under five major surgeries and ultimately required a below-the-knee amputation of his left leg. Schmidt later underwent over one year of rehabilitation. Schmidt claimed that he has significant phantom pains, problems with skin lesions and frequent fatigue. He alleged that prior to the accident, he enjoyed many sports, including water and snow skiing and soccer, but it has now become difficult. However, he admitted that he is trying to return to sports with the use of a prosthesis. Schmidt also claimed that he is looking to change careers to a job where he does not need to stand so much. The plaintiff alleged that he may eventually need cosmetic surgery as a result of his . He also alleged that he would need extra attendant care around the home and future nursing care when he gets older. Thus, Schmidt originally claimed $1 million in past medical costs, but the amount was reduced to $250,000, per the Howell decision. He also claimed that his future medical costs were estimated at close to a $1 million, in present value.
Superior Court of San Mateo County, San Mateo, CA

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