Case details

Pedestrian struck in crosswalk suffered traumatic amputation





Result type

Not present

brain, brain injury, left leg, traumatic brain injury
On Oct. 1, 2012, at approximately 2:45 p.m., plaintiff Maryam Hedayati, 43, was traversing the crosswalk in the southwest part of the intersection of Moulton Parkway and Aliso Niguel, in Laguna Niguel, when she was struck by a vehicle operated by Maurice Vanwyk, who was traveling on southbound Moulton Parkway. As a result of the accident, Hedayati sustained a traumatic brain injury and ultimately underwent an above-the-knee amputation of her left leg. Maryam Hedayati, by and through her guardian ad litem, Mohammad Hedayati, sued Vanwyk. Maryam Hedayati alleged that Vanwyk was negligent in the operation of his vehicle. Specifically, she claimed that Vanwyk ran a red light at the subject intersection. Vanwyk admitted liability and to his negligence being the sole cause of Hedayati’s . Thus, the sole issue at trial was regarding the nature and extent of Maryam Hedayati’s and damages., Maryam Hedayati sustained a traumatic below-the-knee amputation of her left leg. She was subsequently taken by ambulance to an emergency room, where she was diagnosed with a traumatic brain injury and had to be placed in a medically-induced coma for a few weeks. Hedayati ultimately required surgical revision on the remaining portion of her left leg, resulting in an above-the-knee, transfemoral amputation. According to plaintiff’s counsel, Hedayati started to come out of the coma throughout October and November of 2012, and was later transferred to multiple acute rehabilitation facilities, where Hedayati became further stabilized. Hedayati claimed she was not mobilized as early as possible with regard to her prosthetic leg, causing her to seek multiple prosthetic limbs, with a frequency change of two to three years per prosthetic. With regard to attendant care, Hedayati sought basic attendant care and did not seek 24-7 attendant care from licensed vocational nurses or registered nurses. However, she claimed she still requires three different prosthetic legs: a primary prosthetic, an identical backup prosthetic, and a water leg. With regards to her loss of earning capacity, Hedayati claimed she studied medicine in Mexico and was planning on taking the United States Medical License Examination upon coming to the United States. However, she did not have any earnings history to present at trial and she had a four-year gap between the accident date and when she stopped attending school in Mexico. Thus, Hedayati sought recovery of future life care costs in the range of $6,066,609 to $8,586,735. The range was provided by Hedayati to give the jury options with regard to the type of prosthetic devices she would require in the future. She also presented a range of recovery for her future loss of earning capacity, seeking $2,858,592 if she pursued a career as a family medicine doctor, $3,326,505 if she pursued a career as a self-employed family medicine doctor, and $6,978,319 if she pursued a career as a dermatologist. In closing arguments, plaintiff’s counsel asked the jury to award Hedayati $15 million in past pain and suffering and $45 million in future pain and suffering. Defense counsel contended that according to Hedayati’s medical records, she was placed in the medically induced coma for a few weeks, but remained in a steady coma after being taken off the sedation medication. Counsel contended that Hedayati remained in a coma as she was transferred to multiple acute rehabilitation facilities and did not regain consciousness until January 2013, when she became alert, responsive, and began crying. In regard to Hedayati’s prosthetic needs, defense counsel argued that Hedayati should not be provided with a high-level prosthetic leg, which the defense’s experts opined was for individuals with earlier mobilization and less problems. Counsel also argued that Hedayati would only require one prosthetic, a non-microprocessor hydraulic unit, at a time. Defense counsel further argued that the frequency of the prosthetic changes should be every four to five years. In closing arguments, defense counsel asked the jury to award Hedayati $2 million in future loss of earning capacity, $3.8 million in future life care expenses, $1 million in damages for past pain and suffering, and $3 million in damages for future pain and suffering.
Superior Court of Orange County, Santa Ana, CA

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