Case details

Plaintiffs: Defendant’s failure to stop caused multiple collisions





Result type

Not present

chest, cognition, concentration, face, facial laceration, fracture, glenoid labrum, head, headaches knee neck, impairment, mental, neurological, nose, psychological, radicular pain, radiculitis, rib, shoulder, tear
On Nov. 20, 2014, plaintiff Sang Yun Bae, 49, a senior transportation manager, was driving on westbound State Route 91, also known as the Rudolph B. Davila Memorial Freeway and as the Gardena Freeway, in Carson. When he was 80 feet east of the Broadway exit, his vehicle was rear-ended by a 2000 Hino box truck operated by Julio Flamenco. The impact caused Bae’s vehicle to be forced into a van being operated by Anna Maria Engbaum, whose vehicle was then forced into a vehicle being operated by plaintiff Seung Nam Park. The impact between Engbaum and Park’s vehicles forced Engbaum’s vehicle into the number one lane, where Engbaum’s vehicle collided with a vehicle being operated by plaintiff Nancy Becerra, 26, who had a passenger in her vehicle, plaintiff Leonardo Becerra, 19. Bae claimed to his head, face, chest, neck and back. Engbaum, who was driving in the course and scope of her employment with Time Warner Cable, claimed to her neck, back, shoulder and knee. Park claimed to his neck, back, head, shoulder and hip. The Becerras each claimed to their neck and back. Bae sued the driver that initially struck him, Flamenco, and Flamenco’s employer, HNF Trucking Inc. Bae alleged that Flamenco was negligent in the operation of his box truck and that HNF Trucking was vicariously liable for Flamenco’s actions during the course and scope of his employment. Engbaum filed a workers’ compensation claim in regard to her alleged . Her employer, Time Warner Cable subsequently brought a separate action against Flamenco and HNF Trucking in an attempt to recover the amounts paid in the workers’ compensation claim as well as sought to recover general damages on behalf of Engbaum. The Becerras also brought a separate action against Flamenco and HNF Trucking. In addition, Park brought a separate action against Flamenco and HNF Trucking, as well as sued Engbaum and “Time Warner NY Cable LLC.” The matters were ultimately consolidated. Plaintiffs’ counsel contended that Flamenco failed to observe the traffic stopping ahead of him and caused the first rear-end collision with Bae, which subsequently caused all the other collisions. Defense counsel for Flamenco and HNF Trucking asserted that a phantom vehicle had cut Flamenco off, which caused Flamenco to swerve., Bae sustained a laceration of his upper lip, a rib fracture, a labral tear of the right shoulder, and was rendered unconscious at the scene of the collision. He was taken to Harbor-UCLA Medical Center, in Torrance, where he complained of lumbar and cervical pain. Bae received three epidural injections to treat his lower back pain, but he claimed the injections were unsuccessful. He also claimed he had difficulty with concentration and forgetfulness after the accident, but a CT scan of the brain showed no cerebral contusion or hemorrhage, and an MRI of the brain showed no evidence of a traumatic brain injury. On Sept. 1, 2015, Bae underwent a shoulder surgery, which was performed by his treating orthopedic surgeon at Miracle Mile Outpatient Surgery Center, in Los Angeles. The labral tear of the right shoulder was treated with shoulder manipulation under anesthesia, arthroscopy and labral repair with subacromial decompression. Bae returned to work on Nov. 26, 2014, six days after the accident. He claimed that his right shoulder is currently stiff and painful, intermittently, but has slightly improved after the shoulder surgery. He also claimed that although he had a pre-existing history of neck pain, his cervical pain was caused or aggravated by the crash, but that he ultimately had no residual to his cervical spine. Engbaum claimed to her neck, lower back, and right shoulder, resulting in numbness and tingling down the right arm to the fingers, and radiating pain down both legs. She also had complaints about the left knee. She subsequently filed a workers’ compensation claim with her employer, Time Warner Cable, which paid the workers’ compensation benefits on behalf of Engbaum in the amount of $87,640.27. However, Engbaum’s workers’ compensation case is still open and further benefits are expected to be paid. Thus, Time Warner Cable sought recovery of the amounts paid, and is expected to be paid, in regard to Engbaum’s workers’ compensation claim as well as sought recovery of general damages on the part of Engbaum. Ms. Becerra and Mr. Becerra both claimed to their cervical, thoracic, and lumbar spine. Ms. Becerra’s past medical costs totaled $3,315 and Mr. Becerra’s medical costs totaled $3,450. Park claimed the accident caused neck pain, upper back pain, lower back pain, right shoulder pain, right hip pain, and headaches. He subsequently underwent physical therapy treatments. However, Park claimed he continues to suffer from long-term loss of mobility. Thus, Park sought recovery of $4,825 in special damages and between $15,000 and $20,000 in future damages. The defense’s expert orthopedic surgeon performed a defense medical exam on Bae on March 11, 2016. In his report, the expert concluded that Bae was neurologically intact, but admitted that Bae did have some range of motion deficits after his arthroscopic surgery with mild positive impingement signs on the right shoulder, which was to be expected. The expert also concluded that at this point, it appeared that no further surgery is indicated for Bae. The defense’s neurology expert performed a defense medical exam on Bae on April 25, 2017. He concluded that Bae had a pre-existing history of neck pain, as documented by physician’s notes in June 2012, and that Bae showed no evidence of cervical or lumbar radiculopathy.
Superior Court of Los Angeles County, Long Beach, CA

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