Case details

Unsafe parking area caused child to be struck by car: mother





Result type

Not present

brain, brain damage, coma, traumatic brain injury
On May 11, 2011, plaintiff Christian Galvan, 3, was playing with other children in the front yard of the apartment complex he lived at with his family in Los Angeles. While playing, Christian ran out into the street to retrieve a ball and was struck by a vehicle operated by Andy Chavez. Christian sustained massive head and facial trauma, resulting in a traumatic brain injury. Christian’s mother, Imelda Ramirez, acting as her son’s guardian ad litem, sued Chavez and the owners, managers and operators of the apartment complex, Gabriel and Laura Ortiz. Ramirez alleged that Chavez negligent in the operation of his vehicle. She also alleged that the Ortizs failed to properly maintain the property, creating a dangerous condition. Chavez immediately tendered his insurance policy limits of $15,000. Ramirez claimed that unbeknownst to her and her family, the gate across the driveway entrance to the parking area was non-operative and slid to its open position at the time of the accident. She also claimed the Ortizs made no attempt to remedy the situation and/or undertake any corrective measures to secure a safe environment for tenants, specifically children playing in the front yard. Thus, plaintiff’s counsel contended that the Ortizs had a duty to exercise reasonable care to maintain the subject property in a condition that is reasonably safe, which included inspections of the property to either warn of any dangerous condition or remedy it. The Ortizs claimed the subject gate was operable and was left open during the day due to tenant complaints, but it was usually closed at night. Defense counsel contended that since a group of children, including Christian, were left unsupervised, kicking a soccer ball around the parking lot area, Ramirez was liable for the accident by failing to properly supervise Christian., Christian sustained massive head and facial trauma, resulting in brain swelling. He was subsequently taken from the scene of the accident by ambulance and brought to an emergency room, where he was diagnosed with a traumatic brain injury. Christian remained in the hospital’s Intensive Care Unit for two months and was then transferred to a healthcare facility, where he stayed until he was released home to his mother’s care. Ramirez claimed that her son remains in a permanent, unresponsive, vegetative state, and requires breathing and feeding tubes, as well as 24-hour attendant care. Thus, she sought recovery of $807,054 for Christian’s past medical costs. She also claimed that Christian’s future life care plan is in excess of the Ortizs’ $1 million insurance policy limits.
Superior Court of Los Angeles County, Los Angeles, CA

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