Case details

Plaintiffs struck by van claimed they suffer ongoing distress





Result type

Not present

Cohen, disfigurement, emotional distress, face, forearm, knee, knee elbow, left knee, mental, nose, psychological, right elbow, scar, wrist
On Aug. 2, 2013, at around 12:45 p.m., plaintiff Jennifer Teuton, 28, a stay-at-home mother who was seven months pregnant, was walking with her son, plaintiff Cohen Teuton, 6, in a marked pedestrian crosswalk located near 5500 Grossmont Center Drive, in La Mesa, when they were struck by a van operated by Diana Rozenshteyn. The impact caused both Ms. Teuton and her son to be thrown several feet. Ms. Teuton sustained to her right elbow, forearm, wrist and left knee, and Cohen sustained to his face and left elbow. Mrs. Teuton, individually, and Jason Teuton, acting as Cohen’sguardian ad litem, sued Rozenshteyn, alleging the defendant was negligent in the operation of the van. Specifically, plaintiffs’ counsel contended that Rozenshteyn failed to yield the right-of-way. Rozenshteyn admitted liability for the accident., Ms. Teuton suffered bruises to her stomach, and abrasions and friction burns to her right elbow, forearm, hands and wrist. She also suffered impact to both knees, resulting in swelling, pain and scarring to her left knee. Her pregnancy was also deemed a “high risk” pregnancy after the collision. As a result, numerous tests were done on Ms. Teuton and the unborn baby. The wounds on her hands, knees, and elbows were also cleaned and dressed. Ms. Teuton claimed that she had not felt her baby move for two hours and did not know for those two hours if her baby was still alive, she had to be checked into the trauma unit of the hospital overnight since the medical staff could not determine if it was safe for her to leave. Ms. Teuton claimed she was in a great deal of pain, but she could not receive any pain medication because she was pregnant. However, the doctors eventually determined that her baby seemed to be healthy, and she was cleared for release in the morning. Ms. Teuton was also advised to seek follow-up treatment with her regular obstetrician. Ms. Teuton claimed that later that day, she noticed blood appearing in her mouth, which persisted for the next two days. She claimed that although she was very concerned, she was unable to consult with her doctor until the following Monday. Thus, Ms. Teuton claimed she suffered from fear and pain as a result of being hit by the vehicle, but that she simultaneously suffered the greatest fear of a parent by having to witness her young son, Cohen, being struck and injured by a vehicle, as well as by knowing that her unborn child was put in danger of dying in her womb. She also claimed she became further distressed and terrified for her son when she was forced to leave Cohen alone at the hospital when he was hurt and scared so that she could be treated herself. She claimed that during this time she did not know whether her son had suffered a serious head trauma. Ms. Teuton alleged that she had experienced a devastating miscarriage before she became pregnant with her soon-to-be son, Landon, so the accident made her fear of losing the baby all the more acute. She claimed that for the hours that she could not feel her fetus move, she was petrified that she had lost her fully formed baby. She further claimed that even when the immediate danger had passed, she did not know for certain whether the baby was unaffected by the collision until after he was born almost three months later. Plaintiffs’ counsel contended that Ms. Teuton’s greatest emotional distress eased when it was clear that Cohen would physically recover and that Landon was unaffected by the incident. However, counsel contended that Ms. Teuton still had to deal with weeks of pain and discomfort caused by the impact to her elbows, knees, hips and back. She was already experiencing daily weakness and discomfort due to her complicated pregnancy, and her made it much worse. Furthermore, plaintiffs’ counsel contended that because Ms. Teuton was malnourished and often dehydrated, her physical recovery was especially prolonged. Despite recovering from her other , Ms. Teuton claimed that she continued to suffer pain in her knees, causing her to have to alter her lifestyle. She alleged that she now has to avoid certain exercises and activities, including jogging and playing on the floor with her baby. Cohen sustained impact to his forehead, arm, and cheek, including bruising and swelling. He also suffered contusions, scrapes and cuts. Cohen was ultimately released after approximately three hours of medical observation, but he remained sore for days afterwards. Cohen’s parents claimed that although their son’s physical were minor, Cohen suffered feelings of distress, fear, and worry during and after the incident. They claimed that as a result, Cohen’s sense of security was shaken and he became very clingy with his mother when he became overtly scared, especially in parking lots and around any vehicles. They claimed Cohen’s distress eased after a few months, but he still remains nervous and overly cautious. Despite their alleged distress, neither Cohen nor his mother sought counseling. Plaintiffs’ counsel contended that the “Howell” medical costs were approximately $1,500 for both Ms. Teuton and Cohen, with the cost “adjusted” dramatically. Defense counsel contested the nature and extent of the plaintiffs’ , as well as contested the value of the case.
Superior Court of San Diego County, San Diego, CA

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