Case details

Plaintiffs claimed injuries from driver’s unsafe lane change





Result type

Not present

anterior cruciate ligament, emotional distress, face, facial laceration, knee, mental, nose, psychological, right knee, spine, tear
On Dec. 25, 2012, plaintiff Gary Doebereiner, 57, an electrician, was driving a 2008 GMC Sierra north on the Santa Ana Freeway (Interstate 5), in Irvine, with plaintiff Lynn Butler, 67, a commercial property manager, as a front-seat passenger and plaintiff Justin Lightfoot, 16, the grandson of Doebereiner and Butler, as a rear-seat passenger. When they were near the exit for the Barranca Parkway, they were involved in a collision with a northbound 2002 Mini Cooper driven by Monica Choi. Doebereiner claimed to his spine, Butler claimed an injury to her right knee, and Justin suffered a facial laceration. Doebereiner, individually and on behalf of Justin, and Butler, individually, sued Choi and the owner of the Mini Cooper, Veronica Lee. Doebereiner, Butler and Justin claimed that Choi was negligent in the operation of the Mini Cooper. They also alleged that Lee had negligently entrusted the vehicle to Choi and that Lee was liable for Choi’s actions. Plaintiffs’ counsel maintained that Choi made an unsafe lane change without keeping a proper lookout and clipped the rear of the plaintiffs’ truck, causing Doebereiner to lose control, leave the roadway, and strike a tree. Choi and Lee did not dispute negligence., Doebereiner, Butler and Justin were transported by ambulance to an emergency room. Doebereiner claimed the impact aggravated pre-existing herniations and bulges in his cervical, thoracic and lumber discs. He underwent multiple epidural steroid and facet injections, as well as 1.5 years of physical therapy. The plaintiffs’ medical experts opined the Doebereiner will eventually require a mid-level anterior cervical fusion. Plaintiff’s counsel maintained that Doebereiner’s left him totally disabled and unable to work. Butler claimed that she sustained a tear of the anterior cruciate ligament in her right knee. She subsequently underwent 25 physical therapy visits. Butler claimed that she continues to suffer knee instability and discomfort. As a result, the plaintiffs’ medical experts opined that Butler’s injury will eventually require surgical repair. Justin sustained a laceration to his face, near his nose. Plaintiff’s counsel maintained that Justin also developed a trauma disorder due to the collision and has been undergoing monthly therapy sessions since that time. Thus, the plaintiffs sought recovery of past and future medical expenses, and past and future lost income. They also sought recovery of damages for their respective past and future past and future pain and suffering, and physical impairment.
Superior Court of Orange County, Santa Ana, CA

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