Case details

Police officer claimed driver’s unsafe turn caused crash




Mediated Settlement

Result type

Not present

arm, brain, brain injury, concussion, dental, face, facial, facial laceration, fracture, head, nose, shoulder, shoulder impingement, tooth loss shoulder, traumatic brain injury, wrist
On April 28, 2014, James O’Connor, 44, a police officer for the city of Palos Verdes Estates, was riding his police motorcycle on westbound Palos Verdes Drive West, in Palos Verdes Estates. He was responding Code 3, which is an emergency response that requires the use of lights and sirens. However, O’Connor was allegedly only chirping his siren. After passing a parked Ford F-150 truck, which was blocking one side of a half-circle driveway, O’Connor collided with a vehicle operated by Daphne Geernaert, who was attempting to make a left turn out of the other half of her half-circle driveway. O’Connor claimed that he sustained to his head, face, back, both wrists, and right shoulder. Geernaert sued O’Connor; O’Connor’s employer, the city of Palos Verdes Estates; and the owner of the parked Ford F-150, Ecostar Inc. O’Connor brought a cross-claim against Geernaert; Ecostar Inc.; and the driver who parked the Ford F-150, Matthew Sanders. Geernaert ultimately dismissed her complaint, and the matter continued with O’Connor’s cross-claim only. O’Connor claimed that he was riding his motorcycle at approximately 45 mph as he approached Sanders’ illegally parked truck. He alleged that Sanders’ created a dangerous situation by blocking Geernaert’s view of oncoming traffic, which included his oncoming motorcycle, and, thus, contributed to the accident. O’Connor also claimed that as he passed Sanders’ illegally parked truck, Geernaert made an unsafe, left turn in front of his police motorcycle, causing the crash. Sanders claimed that Geernaert hesitated before exiting her driveway and then sped out into the path of O’Connor’s approaching motorcycle. Geernaert claimed that at the time of the incident, O’Connor was speeding and not using his lights or siren and that O’Connor’s actions caused the accident. She further claimed that Sanders, who was illegally parked, signaled to her that she could proceed safely out of her driveway. Thus, she alleged that Sanders’ actions contributed to the crash., O’Connor sustained a tear of the superior labral from anterior to posterior (SLAP) with impingement on the right shoulder, a fracture of the mandible, a fracture of the left wrist’s radial styloid, a fracture of the right wrist’s intraarticular displaced radius, a soft tissue back injury, multiple facial lacerations, multiple lacerations and bruises throughout his body, and damage to his teeth, including the loss of a tooth. He also suffered a right-sided brain hemorrhage, which he claimed resulted in traumatic brain injury. O’Connor was subsequently taken by ambulance to a hospital. He underwent internal fixation surgery on his right wrist, and surgery and multiple procedures to treat his dental . He also underwent extensive physical therapy for his . O’Connor claimed that he suffers from residual issues related to his concussive syndrome, but that he ultimately made a fair recovery. He alleged that although he was able to return to full duty as a police officer, after working for over one year, it was determined that he could not continue to work as a police officer. O’Connor’s past medical expenses in the amount of $176,196.21 were paid by workers’ compensation. Thus, he sought recovery for his loss of earnings, and past and future pain and suffering. Defense counsel disputed the extent of O’Connor’s and damages, and asserted that O’Connor made a full recovery.
Superior Court of Los Angeles County, Torrance, CA

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