Case details

Pedestrian struck in crosswalk claimed numerous severe injuries





Result type

Not present

arm, back, brain, brain damage, brain injury, cervical, chest, chest flail, coma, dental, face, facial, fracture, fusion, head, hemothorax, LeFort fracture, lumbar, mouth, neck, nerve impingement, neurological, nose, rib, ribs, scapula, shoulder, skull, tooth loss, traumatic brain injury
On June 26, 2014, plaintiff Chin-An Cheng, 68, retired, was walking south on Helen Avenue, toward the intersection with El Camino Real, a busy, two-way, six-lane thoroughfare in Sunnyvale. The only traffic control at the intersection was a ‘yield to pedestrians’ sign. Cheng waited until he believed eastbound and westbound traffic had cleared the intersection, and then entered the pedestrian crosswalk in order to cross El Camino Real. However, while crossing the road, Cheng was struck by a vehicle operated by Assaf Elmalem, who was traveling on the westbound side of El Camino Real. Cheng was subsequently thrown 38 feet, and he sustained to his chest, head, ribs, face, back, and mouth, as well as to a number of internal organs. Cheng filed a complaint against the vehicle’s driver, Elmalem; the vehicle’s owner, CM Global Inc.; and the principal of CM Global, Omri Elkadar. Cheng also sued Elmalem’s company, Move Expert Inc., which was doing business as Ninja Movers. Cheng alleged that Elmalem was negligent in the operation of his vehicle and that Elkadar and CM Global were vicariously liable for Elmalem’s actions. He also alleged that Move Expert was vicariously liable for Elmalem’s actions because Elmalem was driving to a work meeting when the accident occurred. Cheng’s counsel contended that Elmalem was speeding, traveling around 45 mph on a road that had a 40 mph speed limit. Counsel also contended that the Sunnyvale Police Department found two phones in Elmalem’s vehicle at the accident scene and determined that Elmalem had received a phone call from a Move Expert employee two minutes before the moment of impact., Cheng was placed in an ambulance and transported to the emergency room at Santa Clara Valley Medical Center, in the Fruitdale section of San Jose, where he remained in a coma for a period of one month. Cheng sustained posterior and lateral left-sided rib fractures, resulting in a left-sided chest flail — a life-threatening medical condition that occurs when a segment of the rib cage breaks under extreme stress and becomes separated from the rest of the chest wall. He also sustained a shattered spleen, an anoxic brain injury, left forearm fractures to his ulna and radius, a comminuted fracture of the left scapula, hyperextension of cervical spine ligaments, an anoxic spinal cord injury, an impinged nerve in his right leg, and an incomplete Le fort 1 fracture to his skull. In addition, Cheng suffered an acute gastrointestinal bleed; acute renal failure; a trauma-induced pulmonary embolus; and trauma-induced atrial fibrillation, resulting in cardiac arrest. He also suffered extensive to his face, including a left nasal fracture, a right lateral orbital fracture, an alveolar ridge fracture of his maxilla and mandible, a right zygomatic process fracture in his cheek, a loss of six teeth, nasal septum and nasal bone fractures, a partial palatal fracture, and a fracture of the anterior wall of the right internal auditory canal. Cheng’s hospitalization at Santa Clara Valley Medical Center lasted one week, during which he underwent open reduction and internal fixation to treat the open fractures of the left forearm’s ulna and radius; a skin graft of his right leg; and a splenectomy, requiring blood transfusions. He also suffered from post-splenectomy septicemia as a result of the surgery. On July 3, 2014, Cheng was transported to Kaiser Permanente Vallejo Medical Center, in Vallejo, where his spine and neck were treated with a spinal fusion and discectomy. He then began showing signs of consciousness in mid-July 2014. However, his hospitalization at Kaiser Permanente Vallejo Medical Center lasted through September 2013. After Cheng’s release from the hospital, he began treating his neck injury, on an outpatient basis, at Santa Clara Valley Medical Center. He frequently underwent acupuncture, and received epidural injections to his cervical spine. He also underwent bi-weekly physical therapy and treated with a pain management specialist for 1.5 years. In January 2015, the plaintiff’s treating oral surgeon recommended that Cheng undergo a dental bridge procedure and a bone implant to replace his missing teeth. For one year after the accident, Cheng required daily assistance, for five hours each day, from a home health care worker who assisted him with activities that included getting out of bed, getting dressed, ambulating, and showering. His wife now continues to help him with his daily routine, and he had shower grab bars installed in the shower for her husband’s safety. Cheng also sought treatment to replace six teeth that he lost in the accident. Cheng’s wife, Wendy Wu, claimed that her husband was never the same after the accident. She contended that her husband has fallen down several times because of his leg injury and that he walks with a cane. She also claimed that Cheng had recently retired, but that he could not engage in the hobbies that he had enjoyed before the accident, such as hiking and traveling. She further claimed that Cheng has a restricted range of motion in his left arm, that he sleeps too much, that he had nightmares after the accident, and that he is quiet and seldom holds a conversation. Thus, Cheng sought recovery of past and future medical expenses, and recovery of damages for his past and future pain and suffering. Wu sought recovery for the loss of her husband’s services, companionship, love, comfort, care, assistance, protection, consortium, affection, society, and moral support.
Superior Court of Santa Clara County, Santa Clara, CA

Recommended Experts


Get a FREE consultation for your case