Case details

Plaintiffs’ unexpected merge caused crash, defense argued





Result type

Not present

back, neck
On Nov. 22, 2011, plaintiff Edwin Flores, 20, was driving his sport utility vehicle on southbound Interstate 710, in Los Angeles, accompanied by plaintiff Wilber Flores, 32, in the front passenger seat and plaintiff Sergio Guevara, 27, in the rear of the vehicle. At approximately 3 p.m., between the I-5 Interchange and the Bandini Boulevard off-ramp, their SUV was involved in a rear-end collision with a large pickup truck operated by Justin Harris. The occupants of the Flores vehicle all claimed neck and back from the accident. Edwin Flores, Wilder Flores and Sergio Guevara sued Justin Harris and the registered owner of the pickup truck, Lloyd Harris, Justin Harris’ father. The plaintiffs alleged that Justin Harris was negligent in the operation of the pickup truck and that Lloyd Harris was vicariously liable for his son’s actions. Edwin Flores claimed he had to swerve from the far right lane, into the shoulder, in order to avoid a vehicle that made an immediate stop in front of him. He claimed that when his SUV merged back onto the road and came to a complete stop in the far right lane, Eugene Harris rear-ended him. Plaintiff’s counsel noted that the points of impact were to the rear driver side corner of the Flores vehicle and to the front passenger side corner of the Harris vehicle. Justin Harris alleged that Edwin Flores’ negligence caused the accident. He claimed that Edwin Flores crossed over into the shoulder in order to pass traffic in the far right lane and then merged suddenly and unexpectedly in front of his pickup truck. Thus, Justin Harris claimed that he did not have enough time and space to avoid an impact and that the plaintiffs’ vehicle was not at a complete stop, as alleged, as both vehicles were traveling at 35 to 40 mph at the time of the collision., On Nov. 28, 2011, six days after the accident, Edwin Flores, Wilder Flores and Sergio Guevara all presented to a chiropractor with complaints of neck and back pain, and were diagnosed with soft-tissue strains and sprains. Sergio Guevara treated through Feb. 14, 2012, Edwin Flores treated through April 18, 2012, and Wilber Flores treated through April 27, 2012. The plaintiffs claimed that their respective resolved with chiropractic care and that they had no major residuals. Thus, Edwin Flores sought recovery of $3,943 in past medical costs, $4,500 in property damage, and an unspecified amount of damages for his pain and suffering. Wilber Flores sought recovery of $3,710 in past medical costs and an unspecified amount of damages for his pain and suffering. Sergio Guevara sought recovery of $2,110 in past medical costs and an unspecified amount of damages for his pain and suffering. (The plaintiffs did not make a claim for lost earnings.) Defense counsel contended that none of the plaintiffs were seriously injured in the accident, which involved a minimal impact that only caused minor property damage. Counsel further contended that Wilber Flores had a three-month gap in treatment, while Edwin Flores and Sergio Guevara had small gaps in treatment. Thus, defense counsel asserted that all three plaintiffs’ chiropractic findings were inconsistent in diagnosing serious .
Superior Court of Los Angeles County, Los Angeles, CA

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