Case details

Plaintiff claimed intersection crash caused continued wrist pain





Result type

Not present

anxiety, arm, depression, fracture, mental, psychological, wrist
On Sept. 8, 2015, plaintiff Jillian Liwag, 22, a nursing student, was driving on West Fern Avenue, in Redlands, when she entered the intersection with South Buena Vista Street and broadsided the side of a semi-truck operated by Abdul Sayed Hakim, who entered the intersection from South Buena Vista Street. Liwag sustained to her right wrist. Liwag sued Hakim and Hakim’s employer, Lowey Enterprises Inc. Liwag alleged that Hakim was negligent in the operation of his vehicle and that Lowey Enterprises was vicariously liable for Hakim’s actions while in the course and scope of his employment. Three minor children — Jacob Madrid, Justin Madrid and Journie Madrid — were also initially named as plaintiffs, but they were ultimately dismissed from the case. Liwag noted that South Buena Vista Street was governed by a stop sign at the subject intersection and that those traveling on West Fern Avenue had the right of way. She claimed that Hakim entered the intersection when he did not have the right of way and cut her off, causing the collision. The defendants stipulated to liability, so the trial solely addressed the issue of damages., Liwag sustained a fracture of the radius of her right, dominant wrist as a result of her air bags deploying and striking her wrist. She was taken by ambulance to a hospital’s emergency room, where she underwent a closed reduction and splinting. Two days later, she underwent an open reduction and internal fixation at Loma Linda University Medical Center, in Loma Linda. Liwag then underwent a course of physical therapy. However, she claimed she had little progress, so she presented to an orthopedic hand surgeon in July 2017 with complaints of crepitus, chronic pain and severely limited range of motion in her right wrist. The treating surgeon obtained a CT scan and found that screws from the reduction’s implanted hardware were penetrating the intra-articular surface of Liwag’s wrist, which affected the cartilage in her wrist. Liwag claimed that she suffered grade four chondromalacia and arthritis as a result of the penetrating screws, so she underwent a second surgery to remove the hardware. The treating orthopedic hand surgeon was successful in removing the subject screws that were causing Liwag’s pain, but one of the other screws was stripped, making it impossible to remove the entire implant. However, the treating surgeon believed the remaining hardware would not cause any further problems. After the second surgery, Liwag’s pain and range of motion in her wrist improved slightly, and the crepitus resolved. However, she developed a bacterial infection at the incision site. As a result, Liwag needed to take medication until the infection was resolved. Liwag was left with a raised scar, which was approximately 1.5 inches in length and 0.5 inches in width. She claimed that the keloid scar causes her emotional distress, as it reminds her of the crash, and that she will eventually require a scar revision. She also claimed that she will have arthritis and pain for the rest of her life and that it will continue to get worse until she ultimately requires a complete wrist fusion. In addition, she claimed that she will require post-operative care after each procedure. Liwag, who was close to graduating from nursing school at the time of the crash, claimed that her caused her to suspend her studies, which delayed her graduation by over six months. She also claimed that she suffered from severe depression and anxiety during that time. She further claimed that as a result of her continued pain, she will no longer be able to do high-impact activities that she once enjoyed, such as taekwondo and snowboarding. Liwag sought recovery of $51,507.04 in past medical costs and $193,500 in future medical costs. She also sought recovery of damages for her past and future pain and suffering. (On the fourth day of trial, prior to closing arguments, defense counsel stipulated to the amount of Liwag’s past medical costs.) Defense counsel admitted that all of Liwag’s past medical care was reasonable and necessary and that a future scar revision was reasonable. Counsel also admitted that Liwag may eventually require a partial wrist fusion. However, defense counsel disputed the extent of Liwag’s future care, arguing that the likelihood of Liwag actually needing the partial wrist fusion was only 20 percent. Defense counsel also disputed the extent of Liwag’s alleged general damages, noting that Liwag never missed any significant time from work, did not require any modifications at work and continues to exercise at the gym.
Superior Court of San Bernardino County, San Bernardino, CA

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