Case details

Plaintiffs: Driver’s unsafe speed during sunset caused accident





Result type

Not present

acetabulum, brain, brain injury, chest, clavicle, cognition, emotional distress, fracture, head, hip, leg, mental, psychological, rib, right hip, right lower leg, right ribs, right shoulder, shoulder, traumatic brain injury
On Sept. 24, 2013, at approximately 6:30 p.m., plaintiff Patrick Lonowski, 58, an optometrist, was walking with his two daughters, plaintiffs Callie and Marise Lonowski, on northbound Woodcrest Way, in Modesto, on their way home from the daughters’ after-school program. As they were crossing Merle Avenue in an unmarked crosswalk, which had no traffic controls for either pedestrians or drivers, Mr. Lonowski was struck by a minivan operated by John Woolard Jr., who was traveling on westbound Merle Avenue. Mr. Lonowski sustained to his head, right shoulder, right ribs, right hip, and right lower leg. Mr. Lonowski and his wife, Claudia Lonowski-Munoz, who was acting individually and as guardian ad litem to their two daughters, sued Woolard, alleging the defendant was negligent in the operation of his vehicle. Plaintiffs’ counsel contended that Woolard was driving at a speed that was unsafe for the conditions, which included the sun setting in the west, obstructing Woolard’s vision. Woolard contended that he had the right of way, pursuant to California Vehicle Code § 21950(b), and that Mr. Lonowski was not in a crosswalk, marked or otherwise. He also contended that Mr. Lonowski suddenly and unexpectedly ran into the path of his vehicle and that Mr. Lonowski was under the influence of alcohol at the time of the accident., The force of the impact knocked Mr. Lonowski off his feet and into the air before landing on the ground. He was rendered unconscious and subsequently transported by ambulance to an emergency room. Mr. Lonowski suffered a mild traumatic brain injury, which caused memory loss, confusion, fatigue, short-term memory impairment, and dizziness. He also sustained a fracture of the right clavicle, fractured ribs on his right side, a fracture of the right acetabulum, and a fracture of the right tibia. Mr. Lonowski was hospitalized at Sutter Health Memorial Medical Center, in Modesto, for 24 days, during which he underwent surgery to repair both his tibia and clavicle fractures. He was then transferred to Central Valley Specialty Hospital, in Modesto, for one month of rehabilitation. Mr. Lonowski continues to undergo physical therapy, and he claimed he might require an additional leg surgery. Thus, Mr. Lonowski sought recovery of $495,193 in past medical costs. He also sought recovery of damages for his pain and suffering. Mrs. Lonowski sought recovery of damages for her loss of consortium. She also sought recovery of emotional-distress damages on behalf of her daughters, as a result of Callie and Marise witnessing their father’s accident and him being rendered unconscious.
Superior Court of Stanislaus County, Modesto, CA

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