Case details

Plaintiffs claimed out-of-control driver caused them to crash





Result type

Not present

back, bruise, chest, dental, elbow, fracture, herniated disc, knee, knee contusion, left knee, left shoulder, neck, tooth shoulder
On Aug. 11, 2011, plaintiff Kristen Luna, 21, was driving a sport utility vehicle on westbound State Route 134, in Pasadena, accompanied by her father, plaintiff Arnold Luna, 42, the owner of the SUV, in the front passenger seat. At approximately 11:30 a.m., while traveling in the number-four lane at 65 mph, the Lunas were involved in a non-contact accident with a vehicle operated by Maria Culbertson, who was attempting a lane change from the number three lane, located to the left of the Luna vehicle. In attempt to avoid a collision with Culbertson’s vehicle, Ms. Luna lost control of her SUV and veered across traffic lanes before colliding into a center, concrete-divider wall. Ms. Luna claimed to her right elbow, chest, left knee, left shoulder, neck, and back. Mr. Luna claimed to his neck, lower back, right hand, both shoulders, teeth, and knees. Ms. Luna and Mr. Luna sued Culbertson, alleging that Culbertson was negligent in the operation of her vehicle. Plaintiffs’ counsel asserted that Culbertson made an unsafe lane change into the Lunas’ lane, causing Ms. Luna to hit her brakes and turn right in an emergency evasive action. Counsel asserted that as such, Ms. Luna lost control of her vehicle and ultimately crashed into the concrete, center-divider wall. Plaintiffs’ counsel contended that Culbertson did not stop at the scene of the accident, but was followed for about 10 miles by an eyewitness who took down Culbertson’s license plate number and reported it to California Highway Patrol. The eyewitness stated in his deposition that Culbertson was driving out of control just before the accident, weaving in and out of lanes before almost crashing into the Luna vehicle., Following the accident, the Lunas were both taken by ambulance to an emergency room. Ms. Luna sustained a fracture of the right elbow, a chest contusion, a left knee contusion with swelling, and soft-tissue strains and sprains of her left shoulder, neck, and lower back. Her right elbow was subsequently casted with posterior long arm splinting. She then treated with physical therapy and an orthopedist for roughly two years. Ms. Luna claimed she made a good recovery from her , with no major residual symptoms. Thus, she sought recovery of $49,356.17 in past medical costs. She also sought recovery of damages for her past pain and suffering. Mr. Luna suffered a lumbar disc herniation at the L4-5 level, a fracture of the fifth metacarpal on his right hand, and a chipped front tooth. He also claimed he suffered abrasions and contusions to his body and to his knees that resulted in bilateral knee pain. Mr. Luna received physical therapy and epidural injections through pain management to treat both his neck and lower back. He ultimately underwent a surgical decompression at L4-5 on July 16, 2013. Despite undergoing surgery on his lumbar spine, Mr. Luna claimed he continues to suffer lower back pain, requiring him to undergo an additional five sessions of physical therapy. However, he claimed his other have all resolved. Thus, Mr. Luna sought recovery of $224,318.69 in past medical costs. He also sought recovery of damages for his pain and suffering.
Superior Court of Los Angeles County, Los Angeles, CA

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