Case details

Pedestrian struck in crosswalk claimed extensive injuries





Result type

Not present

anxiety, back, brain, chest, concussion, degenerative disc condition, depression, exacerbation of, fracture, head, knee, leg, mental, neck, occiput, psychological, rib, tibial plateau
On Nov. 17, 2011, plaintiff Aleksandr Shoykhet, 85, a retired engineer, was walking from Chabad Richmond Torah Center to a bus stop at Geary Boulevard and 9th Avenue in San Francisco. At approximately 7:56 a.m., while traversing the crosswalk at the Geary Boulevard and 10th Avenue intersection, Shoykhet was hit by a vehicle operated by Todd Oppenheimer, who was attempting a left turn from southbound 10th Avenue onto eastbound Geary Boulevard. Shoykhet claimed extensive to his head, spine, ribs, knees and legs. Shoykhet sued Todd Oppenheimer and his wife, Anh Oppenheimer, the co-owner of the vehicle. Shoykhet alleged that Mr. Oppenheimer was negligent in the operation of the vehicle and that Ms. Oppenheimer was vicariously liable for her husband’s actions. Mr. Shoykhet claimed he waited for the pedestrian walk light at the southeast corner of Geary and 10th, and entered the marked crosswalk after it flashed “walk.” He claimed that while Mr. Oppenheimer stopped at the intersection for northbound traffic to clear, Mr. Oppenheimer then negligently accelerated into his left turn and struck him after he walked the length of one and a half lanes. Mr. Oppenheimer initially disputed liability, claiming that the sun was in his face. However, he ultimately admitted full liability in February 2013., Shoykhet suffered head , including a scalp laceration and a right occipital subgaleal hematoma. He also suffered multiple rib fractures, a T8 vertebral fracture, tibial plateau fractures on each leg, and a displaced fracture of the right proximal fibula. Shoykhet was subsequently taken from the scene of the accident by ambulance and brought to an emergency room. He then remained hospitalized for two weeks, before being transferred to a skilled nursing facility, where he remained for three months. Shoykhet ultimately returned home to the care of his wife and adult son. The plaintiff’s treating physicians opined that Shoykhet suffered a concussion, post-traumatic stress disorder, anxiety and depression, as well as an aggravation of his pre-existing degenerative disc disease. Shoykhet also claimed ongoing numbness in his hands, as well as difficulty walking. He was also advised that bilateral knee replacements would be needed to treat his tibial plateau fractures, as the plaintiffs’ experts opined that Shoykhet had at least five more years to live and could benefit from surgical treatment. Thus, Shoykhet sought recovery of post-Howell medical costs and recovery for a life care plan that included future surgery costs, hospitalizations, rehabilitation and lifetime in-home support based on a five-year life expectancy. He also sought recovery of general damages for his past and future pain and suffering. His wife, Lyudmila Shoykhet, sought recovery of damages for her loss of consortium. The defense’s experts disagreed with many of Mr. Shoykhet treating physicians and opined that Mr. Shoykhet had many pre-existing conditions that were, at best, temporarily aggravated by the trauma from the accident. The defense’s expert orthopedist testified that Mr. Shoykhet does not require, and would not live long enough to undergo, surgery on his knees. The expert further opined that Mr. Shoykhet’s pre-existing spinal stenosis accounted for all of his back pain and walking difficulty. The defense’s expert neurologist opined that Mr. Shoykhet suffered a minimal or mild concussion, which, at worst, resulted in minimal or mild post-concussion syndrome. The expert also opined that Mr. Shoykhet’s alleged spine and shoulder pain were the result of pre-existing conditions, that any numbness in Mr. Shoykhet’s hands was due to “peripheral compression neuropathy unrelated to this accident,” and that Mr. Shoykhet’s difficulty walking was due to pre-existing venous insufficiency in his legs and lumbar stenosis. The defense’s cardiology/life expectancy expert opined that Mr. Shoykhet’s pre-existing coronary artery disease, atrial fibrillation and congestive heart failure made him a bad candidate for any future knee (or other) surgery, a claim disputed by the plaintiffs’ experts. The cardiology/life expectancy expert further opined that Mr. Shoykhet had many pre-existing comorbidities and has already exceeded his life expectancy. Thus, defense counsel contended that Mr. Shoykhet could die at any moment, giving him a life expectancy of zero to two years.
Superior Court of San Francisco County, San Francisco, CA

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