Case details

Plaintiffs claimed defendant ran stop sign and caused crash





Result type

Not present

back, brain, cognition, concussion, head, impairment, mental, neck, neuropsychological, psychological, sensory, speech, vision
On Nov. 1, 2010, plaintiff Angela Bell, 50, an emergency medicine doctor, was driving on eastbound Judah Street in San Francisco, accompanied by her son, plaintiff Elias Garvey, 9, seated in the rear of the vehicle. At approximately 4 p.m., Bell entered the intersection with 24th Avenue and was struck on the driver’s side by a sport utility vehicle operated by Keye Chun Su, who was traveling on southbound 24th Avenue. Bell claimed to her neck and back, while Elias sustained a concussion. Angela Bell, individually and acting as Elias’ guardian ad litem, sued Su. Bell alleged that Su was negligent in the operation of his vehicle. Specifically, she claimed that her road was uncontrolled, while Su had a stop sign. Thus, Bell claimed that Su failed to yield the right of way at the subject intersection. Su disputed liability, claiming he made a full stop at the intersection and looked both ways, establishing his right of way before he entered the intersection. He also claimed Bell was at fault for coming out of nowhere, causing him to broadside her vehicle. Prior to trial, Bell settled her individual case against Su for $6,500. Thus, Elias’ claims against Su proceeded to trial using California’s relatively new Expedited Jury Trial process. Bell, on behalf of Elias, and Su stipulated to a trial in which each side had three hours to present their case and in which eight jurors are used instead of 12., Bell and Elias declined an ambulance at the scene of the accident. Bell later treated with two to three weeks of physical therapy for soft-tissue strains and sprains to her neck and back. She claimed that her medical costs amounted to $500 and that her had resolved. On the day after the accident, Elias claimed he had problems reading because his vision blurred words. As a result, he was taken to an emergency room, where he was diagnosed with a concussion after exhibiting altered consciousness and repetitive questioning. However, an MRI was negative. Elias was then referred to a pediatric neurologist, whose exam was normal, and then referred to a neuropsychologist, who suggested vision therapy. Elias subsequently underwent two to three months of vision therapy. Elias’ teacher stated that Elias’ vision/reading condition resolved within five months. While the plaintiff’s vision therapist noted very mild ongoing symptoms about nine months post-accident, but opined that Elias’ concussion had otherwise fully resolved. Thus, Elias sought recovery of $13,268 in past medical costs. He also sought recovery of damages for his pain and suffering. Defense counsel contended that, based on the testimony of Elias’ pediatrician, it was exceedingly rare and unusual to develop the reading/vision problem Elias alleged from a concussion. Counsel further contended that Elias only suffered a minor bump and a minor concussion from the accident, both of which fully resolved. Thus, defense counsel argued that the condition was unrelated to the accident.
Superior Court of San Francisco County, San Francisco, CA

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