Case details

Plaintiff claimed vision and hearing injuries from crash





Result type

Not present

cognition, emotional distress, fracture, head, hearing, impairment, loss of, mental, psychological, sensory, skull, speech, tinnitus, vertigo, vision
On Dec. 31, 2008, at 12:20 p.m., plaintiff Evan Wolf, 52, a director of marketing operations at Yahoo, was walking from east to west across Crescent Heights Boulevard in Los Angeles when he was struck by a vehicle operated by Matthew Harris. At the time of the accident, two Los Angeles Police Officers were at the scene investigating another motor vehicle accident that happened 20 minutes prior to Wolf’s. Wolf sustained head from being struck by Harris. Wolf sued Harris; Harris’ employer and vehicle owner, Bonneville International Corp.; the two LAPD officers at the scene, Officer Chandra and Officer Post; and the officers’ employers, the city of Los Angeles and the Los Angeles Police Department. Wolf alleged that Harris was negligent in the operation of his vehicle and that Bonneville International was vicariously liable for his actions. He also alleged that Chandra and Post were negligent in their control of the area of the prior accident, and that the city and police departmentwere vicariously liable for their actions. The trial ultimately continued against Harris and Bonneville International only, as the other defendants were dismissed from the case. Wolf claimed that he was walking inside a crosswalk on the south side of the intersection, near Orange Street, when he was struck by Harris’ vehicle. Though Wolf initially suffered from amnesia from the accident, other witnesses, including his spouse, plaintiff Dana Polk, confirmed that Wolf was walking in the crosswalk when he was struck by Harris. Other witnesses to the accident included the participants in the prior accident that the LAPD officers were investigating. Harris claimed that Wolf ran out from behind a sport utility vehicle and into traffic. Thus, Harris claimed that he did not see Wolf until it was too late for him to stop. Additionally, the two LAPD officers at the scene, Chandra and Post, testified that Wolf was jaywalking and was struck outside of the crosswalk, making Wolf the cause of the accident., Wolf sustained general orthopedic and a fractured skull. He was subsequently taken to a hospital for treatment. Wolf claimed that he suffered moderate cognitive impairment as a result of his head injury, resulting in vertigo, tinnitus and oscillopsia, a condition in which objects appear to move around in a person’s field of vision. Plaintiffs’ counsel contended that Wolf had no record of hearing loss immediately before the accident, although there was some reference to hearing complaints years before. Counsel asserted that Wolf’s stapes bone, astirrup-shaped small bone in the middle ear, was broken as a result of the accident and had to be surgically replaced with a prosthesis on Feb. 23, 2009. When there was no improvement in Wolf’s hearing, a second surgery was performed to check on Sept. 15, 2009, resulting in no change to Wolf’s hearing loss. Since the surgeries, he has worn a hearing aid, but Wolf claimed he still suffers from superior canal dehiscence syndrome, a rare medical condition of the inner ear that causes hearing and balance disorders. In addition, the plaintiff’s orthopedics expert testified that Wolf had chronic shoulder pain as a result of the accident. Thus, Wolf claimed $78,204 in past medical costs, $141,666 in future medical costs and $7,500 in loss of earnings. In addition, he sought recovery of damages for his pain and suffering. Polk, who was Wolf’s spouse under California law, sought recovery of damages under Dillon v. Legg for her emotional distress as a result of having witnessed the accident. He also sought recovery of damages for his loss of consortium. However, prior to trial, he ultimately settled with Harris and Bonneville International for $25,000. Defense counsel argued that Wolf’s vertigo was ongoing and severe for years before the accident. The defense’s expert in otolaryngology opined that Wolf’s vertigo was not caused by the accident, but was caused by Wolf’s untreated migraine headaches. The expert also opined that Wolf’s ear symptoms and oscillopsia were caused by the superior canal dehiscence syndrome, and not by any cognitive impairment. In addition, the otolaryngology expert testified that superior canal dehiscence syndrome could not be caused by trauma. However, in response, plaintiffs’ counsel called his own expert in otolaryngology, who testified that the testimony of the defense’s otolaryngology expert was adverse to the defense expert’s own Web site at UC Irvine, which stated that superior canal dehiscence syndrome can be caused by trauma.
Superior Court of Los Angeles County, Los Angeles, CA

Recommended Experts


Get a FREE consultation for your case