Case details

Sudden and unexpected lane change caused crash: plaintiff





Result type

Not present

damage, fracture, knee, leg, medial collateral ligament
On the morning of Dec. 5, 2011, claimant Gabriel Santana, 24, a dispatcher, was riding his motorcycle to work, traveling westbound on Interstate 10. At approximately 6:50 a.m., a sport utility vehicle operated by Teresa Lewis cut in front of Santana, who was traveling in the far left lane at approximately 40 to 45 mph. As a result, Santana struck the rear of the SUV, causing his motorcycle to crash to the ground and causing him to be ejected onto the roadway. Santana sustained to his back, spleen, lungs, and left leg and knee. Santana filed a claim with Lewis’ insurer, State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Co., as well as brought a claim through the underinsured-motorist-provision of his own policy, which was also with State Farm. Santana alleged that Lewis was negligent in the operation of her vehicle, causing the accident and his personal . Santana claimed that just prior to the accident, Lewis was in the lane to his right, while he was slightly behind her in the far left lane. He claimed that as traffic slowed in the lane to his right, Lewis made an unsafe lane change into the left lane, cutting him off and causing the collision to the rear of her SUV. The investigating police officer concluded that Lewis caused the accident by making an unsafe lane change in violation of California Vehicle Code § 21658(a). Lewis initially disputed the matter, but ultimately admitted liability for the accident., Santana was transported by helicopter to the Department of Emergency Medicine at Los Angeles County + University of Southern California. He suffered a fractured left femur, for which he underwent open reduction and internal fixation surgery. He also sustained a grade III tear of the left knee’s medial collateral ligament, which is a complete tear, as well as a left pneumothorax and a spleen laceration. In addition, he claimed he suffered a hemangioma, or a benign (noncancerous) tumor made up of blood vessels, within the T-11 vertebrae. Santana subsequently followed up with physical therapy. Santana claimed that he ultimately healed from his , with no serious residuals or need for future treatment. Thus, he sought recovery of damages, including $14,089.55 in past medical costs and an unspecified amount for his pain and suffering.
Matter not filed, CA

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