Case details

Taxicab caused ankle fractures and continued pain: pedestrian




Mediated Settlement

Result type

Not present

ankle, fracture, neurological, reflex sympathetic
On May 20, 2012, the plaintiff, a female, was standing outside a taxicab, fixing her father-in-law’s seat belt after assisting him into the vehicle, when the cab driver proceeded to drive forward, causing the cab to run over the plaintiff’s right foot. The plaintiff sued the cab driver and the cab driver’s employer. She alleged the driver was negligent in the operation of the taxicab and that the employer was vicariously liable for the driver’s actions. Plaintiff’s counsel contended that the cab driver violated California Vehicle Code §§ 22106 and 27315. The cab driver admitted liability, and it was ultimately determined that the cab driver was covered under the employer’s insurance., The plaintiff was taken by ambulance to a hospital, where she discharged without being admitted. She claimed she sustained an anterior avulsion fracture of the right ankle’s tibial plafond. She also claimed she sustained an acute fibular fracture of the head/neck junction of the right knee. An X-ray showed no fracture, but did show up as a slight fracture on an MRI. The plaintiff claimed she suffers complex regional pain syndrome, also known as reflex sympathetic dystrophy or causalgia, a chronic pain condition, as a result of the accident. She claimed that as a result, she continues to actively treating for that diagnosis. Thus, the plaintiff alleged that her past medical costs amounted to less than $19,000. She also sought recovery of damages for her future medical costs, and past and future pain and suffering. She did not make a loss-of-earnings claim. Defense counsel disputed the extent of damages alleged by the plaintiff, as well as the plaintiff’s course of treatment. Counsel contended the plaintiff had been disabled for 15 years prior to the subject accident and had a host of medical issues that caused pain to shoot down into the right foot for over a decade, thus contradicting her causation claims. Defense counsel also contended that the plaintiff had no objective findings of injury, even on her own doctors’ exams, with no appreciable swelling, discoloration or temperature changes. Counsel further contended that the plaintiff refused to go to physical therapy, saying it hurt too much, and exhibited no objective signs of pain. Defense counsel asserted that as such, it was only the plaintiff’s word that she was in pain. Defense counsel asserted that the plaintiff was addicted to pain medications and was using the lawsuit as a means of getting money. In addition, counsel contended that the plaintiff would not stop smoking a pack of cigarettes a day and that the plaintiff’s husband, a drug counselor, was a convicted felon. Thus, defense counsel asserted that the plaintiff had motivation to be untruthful due to the pending lawsuit, as well as the fact that she needed money and was unemployed.
Judicate West, CA

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