Case details

Wheelchair-bound plaintiff claimed accident affected mobility





Result type

Not present

left leg, right hand
On Dec. 22, 2012, at approximately 5:15 p.m., plaintiff Moon Sok Kim, 52, a part-time piano teacher who had been wheelchair-bound for most of her life due to a childhood polio affliction, was rolling in her wheelchair across Diamond Heights Boulevard in San Francisco when she was struck by a vehicle operated by Gerald Haney, who traveling on westbound Diamond Heights Boulevard. The impact knocked Kim out of her wheelchair, causing fractures to her left leg and right hand. Kim sued Haney, alleging the defendant was negligent in the operation of his vehicle. Kim admitted that she was crossing the uncontrolled intersection on the west side, where there was no crosswalk. However, she claimed she stopped at the median and saw Haney’s approaching vehicle begin to slow down. Kim claimed she thought Haney was slowing down for her, so she proceeded into the westbound lanes of traffic and was struck by the vehicle. Plaintiff’s counsel contended that Haney, 82 at the time of the accident, was blind in his right eye and suffered from glaucoma in his left eye. Counsel also contended that Haney had previously been advised by his eye doctor not to drive at night. Haney claimed that he was slowing his vehicle for an approaching left turn at the next intersection when Kim darted out into the street from the center median, into the path of his vehicle. Thus, he claimed that Kim was the sole cause of the accident., Kim was taken by ambulance to an emergency room. She sustained a fracture of the left femur, for which she underwent closed reduction surgery/casting. Kim claimed she also sustained a small fracture in her right hand, which healed without surgery. Kim claimed that she previously had no use of her right leg (or left arm) due to polio and that she previously depended on her left leg to make pivot transfers. However, she claimed the fracture to her left leg did not heal well, resulting in an overall loss of strength. Kim claimed that as a result, her mobility and life were drastically affected, as she lost the ability to make pivot transfers and now requires a transfer board to move her body from place to place. In addition, she claimed that due to her now worsened condition and mobility, she had to reduce her piano teaching schedule, resulting in a 60 percent decrease in earnings (down from $700 per month to $300 per month). Thus, Kim sought recovery of $50,000 in total lost earnings and $47,000 in past medical costs (which was covered by Medi-Cal). She also sought recovery of damages for her past and future pain and suffering. Defense counsel contended that Kim was already wheelchair-bound prior to the accident and that nothing significantly changed in Kim’s mobility and condition following the incident.
Superior Court of San Francisco County, San Francisco, CA

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