Case details

Suit: Cab driver to blame for pedestrian hit in intersection





Result type

Not present

brain, brain injury, lower back, pain, pelvis, plateau, subdural hematoma, tibial
On Oct. 12, 2013, plaintiff Ralph Oliverio, 61, a handyman, was seated on a bicycle and using his feet to walk it across 6th Street, in San Francisco. As he crossed the busy street in an unmarked crosswalk, Oliverio was struck by a taxi cab operated by Colden Struggs. Oliverio was subsequently thrown approximately 20 feet and he sustained to his pelvis and tibial plateau. Oliverio sued Struggs and Struggs’ employer, Yellow Cab Cooperative Inc. Oliverio alleged that Struggs was negligent in the operation of the taxi and that Yellow Cab was vicariously liable for Struggs’ actions through the course and scope of his work. Oliverio claimed that Struggs was traveling above the speed limit of 25 mph. The plaintiff’s forensic audio and video expert testified that the dashboard camera footage from the taxi cab demonstrated that Struggs was speeding at the time of the accident. Oliverio’s counsel also entered into evidence, against the objections of defense counsel, video footage of Struggs performing an illegal U-turn prior to the accident. Thus, Oliverio’s counsel argued that the illegal maneuver was evidence of Struggs’ later negligence. Defense counsel argued that Oliverio was comparatively at fault by failing to avoid the approaching taxi. Counsel further argued that Oliverio was riding his bicycle across the street as a vehicle and that Oliverio should not be considered a pedestrian., Oliverio was diagnosed with a comminuted pelvis fracture and a level 6 tibial plateau fracture. He was also diagnosed with a subdural hematoma. Oliverio was subsequently hospitalized for six weeks, and he underwent a series of 11 surgical procedures, including open reduction and internal fixation of his lower right leg, to repair the pelvis and tibial plateau fractures in order to enable him to walk again. He also required the placement of two 175-millimeter screws during the procedures. Oliverio claimed that his legs are now two different lengths due to the surgeries, causing an altered gait and contributing to his lower back pain. He alleged that he now walks with a limp and experiences swelling and discoloration of his lower legs due to reduced circulation. He also alleged that his subdural hematoma resulted in a brain injury that impacts his coordination and ability to walk. The plaintiff’s expert orthopedist testified that Oliverio’s are life-altering and opined that Oliverio will walk with a limp for the rest of his life. Thus, Oliverio sought recovery of between $3 million and $5 million in total damages. Defense counsel did not materially dispute Oliverio’s medical condition. However, counsel argued that if Oliverio was to be awarded anything, the jury should only award approximately $500,000 in general damages before any possible reduction for comparative fault.
Superior Court of San Francisco County, San Francisco, CA

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