Case details

Plaintiff: Dangerous condition of intersection not repaired





Result type

Not present

acetabulum, arm, brain, brain abnormalities, brain damage, brain injury, chest, face, facial, fracture, head, hip, nose, rib, skull, subarachnoid hemorrhage, traumatic brain injury
On April 29, 2009, plaintiff David Evans, a prosecutor with the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office, was riding his motorcycle on eastbound State Route 138 in Pinon Hills when he was struck by an oncoming vehicle operated by John Beekley Lyons, who was traveling westbound on Highway 138. While approaching the intersection with Mountain Road, Lyons started to make a left turn onto the cross street when the collision occurred. Evans was thrown approximately 50 feet from his motorcycle and Lyons’ sport utility vehicle had major damage to the front of it. As a result, Evans suffered catastrophic . Evans, by and through his wife and conservator Meredith Evans, sued the driver, Lyons; the owner of the road, the county of San Bernardino; and the maintainer of the roadway, the state of California Department of Transportation. He alleged that Lyons was negligent in the operation of his vehicle, and that the county and Caltrans were negligent for failing to protect against a dangerous condition at the intersection of SR-138 and Mountain Road. The county of San Bernardino was ultimately dismissed from the case prior to trial, as it was confirmed that the road was controlled/maintained by Caltrans. Mr. Evans claimed Lyons made an illegal, unsafe left turn from Mountain Road, causing the collision on SR-138. He claimed that the “skewed intersection” at SR-138 and Mountain Road constituted a dangerous condition, causing vehicles that were turning left onto Mountain Road to routinely “cut the comer” in an attempt to “beat the gap” in front of oncoming vehicles. The Evans’ counsel noted that there had been 10 prior accidents at the same location and a citizen complaint was received 18 months prior to the accident. Additionally, counsel contended that video of the accident location demonstrated that vehicles turning left onto Mountain Road repeatedly would “cut the corner.” Thus, the Evans’ counsel contended that pylons should have been installed by Caltrans to channel drivers into the intersection to prevent drivers from “cutting the corner.” Lyons admitted liability, but claimed that Caltrans was partially liable for the accident. Caltrans denied there being a dangerous condition at the intersection in question, and denied it had either actual or constructive notice of any dangerous condition. Thus, Caltrans contended that Lyons was solely responsible for the accident., Mr. Evans was thrown approximately 50 feet from his motorcycle and sustained catastrophic , including a traumatic brain injury and multiple head and spinal cord . At the accident scene, Mr. Evans was found to have an abnormal pattern of breathing and both of his pupils reacted sluggishly. He also did not move his upper extremities and had lost multiple teeth. Mr. Evans was subsequently intubated and taken emergently to Arrowhead Regional Medical Center. He was initially classified as a helmeted victim with a Glasgow Coma Scale at 6. Upon arrival at the hospital, Mr. Evans’ Glasgow Coma Scale was 3-T. He then had bilateral chest tubes placed and multiple transfusions were begun. Mr. Evans was diagnosed with a left, nondominant, open radio-ulnar and radial fracture, a left acetabular fracture and dislocation, an open fracture of the left leg with a mangled extremity severity score of 7. (A severity score of 7 or more predicts the need for amputation.) Mr. Evans also sustained a laceration to his left knee and multiple, right lower extremity abrasions. He also sustained a nasal bone fracture, Basilar skull fractures, a right temporal bone fracture, bilateral mandibular fractures, a C1 and C2 spine dislocation, bilateral first rib fractures, a mediastinal hematoma, left fifth and sixth rib fractures, bilateral adrenal hemorrhage, neurogenic bowel and bladder, Basilar atelectasis and bilateral pneumothoraces. Mr. Evans further sustained bilateral occipital horn subarachnoid hemorrhage, a brain stem injury, a foci and tentorium subarachnoid hemorrhage, a forehead laceration and a traumatic brain injury with loss of consciousness. In addition, Mr. Evans had blood in the left ear, mouth and bilateral nares. Due to the widened mediastinum and acute blood loss, Mr. Evans was stabilized and transferred to Loma Linda University Medical Center, where he again underwent blood transfusions. His left leg was shortened and internally rotated. On April 30, 2009, he underwent open reduction and internal fixation of a distal radius fracture, open reduction of the intercarpal dislocation, the radiocarpal dislocation and triquetral fracture with wrist capsulorrhaphy and capsulodesis. He also had an intracranial pressure monitor bowl placed and due to his facial fractures, arch bars were placed. His cervical instability and cervical stenosis revealed central canal difficulties with a spinal cord injury noted with central cord syndrome. On May 6, 2009, Mr. Evans underwent posterior cervical instrumentation with posterior arthrodesis of the C1, C2, C3, C4, C5 and C6 vertebrae; cervical expansile laminoplasty at the C3, C4, C5 and C6 vertebrae; and open reduction of the cervical spine at the C1-2 distraction/dislocation. Mr. Evans then underwent open reduction and internal fixation of the bilateral mandibular fractures on May 15, 2009. Mr. Evans was later transferred to Kindred Hospital long-term acute care for rehabilitation on June 3, 2009. He was determined to have weakness in the upper extremities, greater than in the lower extremities, and was admitted to telemetry. Mr. Evans then had multiple consultations and aggressive therapy, and was started on stimulants. Near discharge, he was able to follow commands. On July 2, 2009, Mr. Evans was transferred to All Saints Healthcare, where he continued to receive rehabilitation. On Sept. 29, 2009, he was deemed appropriate for acute rehabilitation and was transferred to Northridge Hospital on Oct. 8, 2009. On exam, there were cognitive deficits noted with poor orientation and decreased processing, and oropharyngeal dysphagia persisted. Thus, it was determined that Mr. Evans had sustained severe neurological deficits affecting his upper extremity use, nonfunctional gross grasp, persistent contractures to interphalangeal joints and flexion contractures of the wrist. As such, Mr. Evans suffered from spastic quadriparesis. On further examination, it was noted that Mr. Evans had bilateral upper extremity contractures and to be in a remarkable amount of pain, causing him to be placed on chronic opioid therapy. It was eventually decided that Mr. Evans could be discharged home with home health physical, occupational and speech therapies. On Nov. 5, 2009, Mr. Evans was discharged, only to be readmitted to Antelope Valley Hospital on Nov. 8, 2009, with shortness of breath. He was subsequently diagnosed with aspiration pneumonia and was placed on antibiotic therapy. As a result, he remained hospitalized for four days before be discharged. However, Mr. Evans was again hospitalized at Antelope Valley Hospital on Nov. 15, 2009, again with pulmonary symptoms resulting in aspiration pneumonia. After being treated again, he was discharged on Nov. 19, 2009, but was readmitted on Dec. 27, 2009, again with pulmonary compromise and diagnosed with recurrent aspiration pneumonia. Mr. Evans was then readmitted on Dec. 30, 2009, after being discharged the day prior, and was placed on a ventilator. He had massive aspiration of tube feedings and was in the intensive care unit. On Jan. 3, 2010, Mr. Evans was transferred to Kaiser/Sunset with a tracheostomy tube, where he was admitted with aspiration pneumonia and discharged with home health care on Jan. 16, 2010. However, Mr. Evans was again hospitalized on Jan. 28, 2010, and discharged on Jan. 29, 2010. Thereafter, Mr. Evans was placed at All Saints skilled nursing facility. Mr. Evans currently requires 24-hour nursing care, which he will continue to need for the rest of his life. He is also ventilator dependent and fed by a gastrostomy tube. Mr. Evans’ wife, Meredith, also a prosecutor with the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office, claimed that she was compelled to retire from the office in order to care for her husband. As a result, she brought a derivative claim, seeking recovery of damages for her loss of consortium.
Superior Court of San Bernardino County, San Bernardino, CA

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