Case details

Truck’s lane change caused abdominal injuries: motorcyclist





Result type

Not present

chest, fracture, rib
At 6 p.m. on Nov. 5, 2010, plaintiff Eddie Canett, 50, a truck driver, stopped his motorcycle on the State Route 71 on-ramp in Pomona due to a traffic light that turned red at the intersection with Garey Avenue. At the same time, Dana Carnes, who was driving a truck in the lane to the right of Canett, attempted to change into the left lane and struck the rear tire of the motorcycle with the front left portion of his truck. As a result, Canett was knocked off his bike, allegedly causing to his abdomen, ribs, neck and back. Canett sued Carnes and the owner of the truck, Meredith & Simpson Construction Co., which was also Carnes’ employer. Canett alleged that Carnes was negligent in the operation of his vehicle and that Meredith & Simpson was vicariously liable for Carnes’ actions. Canett claimed that Carnes failed to check his blind spot when he merged into the left lane, causing the collision. At trial, he claimed he was thrown 100 feet from his motorcycle upon impact. Defense counsel noted that Canett initially claimed he was thrown 10 to 15 feet from his motorcycle, but changed his claim to 100 feet at trial. However, the defendants admitted liability for the accident, but disputed the nature and extent of Canett’s claimed . Thus, the matter proceeded to a trial on causation and damages., Canett declined medical treatment at the scene, but went to the emergency room later in the evening with severe abdominal pain. He was diagnosed with a mesentery tear in his abdomen, as well as some fractured ribs. He subsequently underwent exploratory surgery, and it was discovered that internal bleeding had stopped. Canett claimed that he missed a few months of work following the accident, but returned to light duty work in February 2011. However, he alleged that he struggled in his duties upon his return, requiring him to take a leave of absence in May 2011 and returning in July 2011, before leaving work for good in November 2011. Canett also claimed he reinjured his abdomen lifting luggage on a flight one month after the accident. Thus, he alleged that he continues to suffer from chronic pain syndrome in his abdomen, affecting his ability to work, drive and do other normal functions. He further claimed he has a residual scar from his exploratory surgery. Thus, Canett asked the jury for between $2 million and $6 million in total damages, of which he claimed $84,000 for past medical costs, $45,000 for future medical costs, and unspecified amounts for past and future lost earnings and past and future pain and suffering. Defense counsel argued that Canett was not seriously injured in the accident. Counsel contended that Canett not only denied treatment at the scene, but got right up off the ground and even assisted Carnes and the tow truck driver in lifting his motorcycle onto the truck. Thus, defense counsel suggested that Canett only incurred about $125,005 in past lost earnings, and was owed zero for future lost earnings. Counsel also suggested that $100,000 for Canett’s total pain-and-suffering damages was reasonable.
Superior Court of Los Angeles County, Pomona, CA

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