Case details

Plaintiff’s excessive speed caused crash, defense argued





Result type

Not present

back, finger, hand, neck, wrist
On July 22, 2010, at approximately 9 p.m., plaintiff Denny Kim, 30, a professional photographer, was driving on northbound Alvarado Street in Los Angeles when he entered the intersection at Scott Avenue and collided with a vehicle operated by Terril Johnson, who was attempting a left turn from southbound Alvarado Street onto eastbound Scott Avenue. Kim claimed he injured his neck, lower back, left wrist and hand in the accident. Kim sued Johnson, alleging the defendant was negligent in the operation of his vehicle. Kim contended that Johnson failed to yield for oncoming traffic and made an improper left turn at the intersection. Johnson claimed that Kim was traveling at an unsafe speed for the conditions. He also claimed that the cars in the other two oncoming lanes of northbound Alvarado Street had given up their right of way and had stopped to allow him to make a left hand turn. Thus, defense counsel argued that Kim was in violation of California Vehicle Code § 21350. The defense’s biomechanical expert testified that Kim was traveling at approximately 45 to 47 mph in a 35 mph zone. Thus, the expert opined that had Kim been traveling at the posted speed, the accident would not have occurred. According to plaintiff’s counsel, Kim’s prior attorney did not list the independent witness in discovery responses, and the judge only allowed the witness to testify on a limited basis on impeachment., Kim claimed he developed pain in his neck and lower back, as well as in his left wrist and hand. He subsequently presented to a chiropractor on July 28, 2010, and treated 29 times through Nov. 17, 2010. Kim then underwent MRIs of his cervical and lumbar spine, which revealed a cervical disc bulge at C3-4, a desiccated/bulging lumbar disc at L5-S1, and a lumbar disc bulge at L3-4. As a result, he underwent two lumbar facet block injections administered bilaterally. Despite treatment, Kim claimed he still experiences pain and discomfort in his neck and lower back, affecting his ability to work as a photographer and perform activities like cycling and jogging. The plaintiff’s expert orthopedic surgeon opined that Kim requires fusion surgery at L5-S1, as well as follow-up physical therapy. Thus, Kim sought recovery of over $40,000 in past medical costs, $160,000 for future medical costs, and an unspecified amount of damages for lost earnings and pain and suffering. Defense counsel argued that Kim did not sustain any serious from the accident. The defense’s biomechanical expert testified that there were insufficient forces in the accident to cause the Kim alleged. The defense’s orthopedic and neurological experts testified that at worst, Kim sustained a sprain/strain type of injury and did not require any type of surgery. In addition, the defense’s radiology expert testified that Kim’s MRIs showed that the lumbar spine condition was degenerative in nature and likely occurred two to three years before the accident.
Superior Court of Los Angeles County, Central, CA

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