Case details

Pedestrian struck by garbage truck suffered multiple injuries





Result type

Not present

brain, brain injury, face, facial, facial laceration, fracture, knee, leg, mental, nose, organic brain syndrome, psychological, shoulder, tibial plateau, traumatic brain injury
At around 11 a.m. on May 28, 2015, plaintiff Corazon Espano, an accountant in her 60s, was walking in a northerly direction on the west side of Anza Avenue, in Torrance, when she arrived at the southeast corner of the intersection with Torrance Boulevard. She then waited for the pedestrian traffic light to change to a “walk sign” before attempting to cross the street. As Espano was walking north across Torrance Boulevard and had passed the first lane of traffic, she was struck by a garbage truck operated by Raymond Morell, who was making a right turn. Espano sustained to her right leg, head, pelvis, face, and shoulders. Espano sued Morell and Morell’s employer, the city of Torrance. Espano alleged that Morell was negligent in the operation of the garbage truck and that the city was vicariously liable for Morell’s actions as his employer and owner of the garbage truck. The defendants ultimately conceded liability., Espano sustained comminuted, compound, dislocated, and displaced fractures of the right, lower leg, including a degloving injury to the right lower leg with a Grade IIIB, open fracture of the right, distal femur and a Schatzker VI class metaphyseal-diaphyseal dissociation fracture of the right tibial plateau. She also sustained a fracture of the left superior and inferior rami of the pelvis, a fracture of the right clavicle, and a protruding fracture of the left clavicle. Espano also sustained multiple facial , including a displaced fracture of the right zygomatic arch, comminuted fractures of the right maxillary sinus, a lateral fracture of the right orbit, and a laceration of the right eyebrow. In addition, she sustained an open fracture dislocation of the right knee with a significant wound defect, a complete crush injury of the knee, rashes on her legs, extensive blood loss, a one inch laceration of the right temple, lacerations of the right and left foot, and multiple other lacerations and contusions to various parts of her body, face and head. Espano was subsequently taken to a hospital. On May 28, 2015, Espano underwent the application of an external fixator on her right knee and on June 1, 2015, she underwent open reduction and internal fixation of her right femur with the implantation of antibiotic beads, as well as open reduction and internal fixation of her right tibia. On June 4, 2015, she underwent a skin graft using substitute skin to her right upper leg and on June 7, 2015, she underwent vacuum assisted drainage collection of her right thigh. On June 11, 2015, she had an incision and drainage of her right knee, as well as a split-thickness skin graft to her lower and upper leg. On June 13, 2015, Espano underwent open reduction and internal fixation of her left clavicle. On July 9, 2015, she had a debridement of the right, lower leg and on Sept. 16, 2015, she had a debridement to both upper legs, as well as a split-thickness skin graft to her lower leg. However, Espano suffered various infections, including infections from the split-thickness skin grafts and an infection/inflammation to the right lower extremity, where hardware was implanted, as a result of the right femur intramedullary nailing. She also suffered from an infection due nonunion of the right distal femur and a gastrointestinal infection as a result of long-term antibiotic therapy. As a result, on Dec. 31, 2015, Espano underwent hardware removal of the femoral intramedullary nail from the right distal femur due to the infection and non-union. Espano claimed that she was left with permanent scarring to the right thigh, knee and calf, and permanent scarring of the left thigh and abdomen due to the surgeries, skin grafts, and various infections. She also claimed that her head caused traumatic organic brain syndrome and that she suffers from immobility and arthritic conditions due to her other . Due to the high threat of infections, Espano will possibly require a future above-the-knee amputation of her right leg. She also contended that her have prevented her from ever being able to work again and that she can no longer enjoy her active lifestyle, which included dancing, traveling and going to the beach. Thus, Espano sought recovery of past and future lost wages, past and future medical costs, and damages for her past and future pain and suffering. Her husband, Gilberto Espano, presented a derivative claim, seeking recovery for his loss of consortium.
Superior Court of Los Angeles County, Los Angeles, CA

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