Case details

Struck pedestrian claimed cognitive issues from accident




Mediated Settlement

Result type

Not present

brain, brain injury, cognition, concussion, head, impairment, mental, neurological, neurological impairment, psychological, subdural hematoma
On Aug. 27, 2019, plaintiff Kenneth Kaku, 80, a retired Hawaiian farmer and retired postal worker, was walking in a crosswalk at an outdoor shopping center, in Rancho Santa Margarita, when he was struck by the front of a sedan operated by Lisa Marie Foto. Kaku rolled over the hood, struck his head against the windshield and was then thrown to the ground. He sustained to his head and left leg. Kaku sued Ms. Foto and the owner of Ms. Foto’s vehicle, John Foto. Kaku alleged that Ms. Foto was negligent in the operation of her car and that Mr. Foto was vicariously liable for Ms. Foto’s actions. Kaku’s counsel contended that Ms. Foto ran down Kaku while Kaku had the right of way, slowly walking in a crosswalk. The Fotos ultimately admitted liability., Kaku was transported to Mission Hospital, in Mission Viejo, where he was diagnosed with a concussion and a subdural hematoma. He was also diagnosed with a hematoma in his left leg, resulting in significant swelling in his left hip, left leg and left foot. Kaku required staples to close the wound on the left side of his head, and he spent the next three days in the hospital. The hematoma in Kaku’s left leg became infected, and he ultimately required debridement surgery, which required another hospitalization for several days. After months of therapy, the open wound on Kaku’s leg developed scar tissue and closed. CT scans of Kaku’s head on the date of the incident revealed an acute subdural hematoma, measuring 7 or 8 millimeters, but the hematoma grew in size in the weeks following the incident. A CT scan taken approximately two weeks after the incident showed that the subdural hematoma had grown to 16 millimeters. About one year after the incident, new imaging studies showed that the subdural hematoma had decreased in size to 3 millimeters. However, the CT scans also showed atrophy of the brain due to alcohol usage unrelated to the incident. Kaku claimed that he suffers from ongoing cognitive and neurological problems as a result of his head injury. He also claimed that he still has pain and stiffness in his left leg when he puts weight on it and that the leg’s condition negatively impacts his mobility. Kaku sought recovery of past and future medical costs, and damages for his past and future pain and suffering. His wife, Anna Kaku, presented a derivative claim seeking recovery for her alleged loss of consortium. Defense counsel argued that Mr. Kaku made a strong recovery from his head and leg , and denied that Mr. Kaku suffered any cognitive or neurological problems. Counsel also contended that Mr. Kaku suffered from multiple myeloma, a cancer that forms in plasma cells, unrelated to the incident and that as a result, Mr. Kaku had a reduced life expectancy.
Superior Court of Orange County, Orange, CA

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