Liability is disputed in left turn accident; oncoming driver said to be speeding and could have avoided the collision.
- Case Name: Jessica Berrones v. Hailey Andrews and AndrewsAG, Inc.
- Court and Case Number: Los Angeles Superior Court / BC 610177
- Date of Verdict or Judgment: Friday, February 09, 2018
- Date Action was Filed: Thursday, February 11, 2016
- Type of Case: Vehicles - Left Turn
- Judge or Arbitrator(s): Hon. Michele E. Flurer
Plaintiffs: Jessica Berrones, 31, waitress.
Defendants: Hailey AndrewsAndrewsAG, Inc.
- Type of Result: Jury Verdict
- Gross Verdict or Award: $872,691.09
- Net Verdict or Award: $891,941.09
Award as to each Defendant:
$872,691.09 against Hailey Andrews; $15,000 against AndrewsAG, Inc., pursuant to acceptance of Ms. Berrones' C.C.P. 998 Offer of Judgment. (Per defense counsel: No verdict as to AndrewsAG. Its statutory ownership liability was covered by defendant driver.)
- Contributory/Comparative Negligence: 0%
- Trial or Arbitration Time: 5 days.
- Jury Deliberation Time: 5 hours.
- Jury Polls: 12-0 on liability; 11-1 on damages.
- Post Trial Motions & Post-Verdict Settlements: None.
Attorney for the Plaintiff:
Southwest Legal Group by L. Dean Smith, Jr., Woodland Hills.
Attorney for the Defendant:
Haight Brown & Bonesteel by Bruce Cleeland, Irvine.
Haight Brown & Bonesteel by Allegra Perez, Los Angeles.
Plaintiff’s Medical Expert(s):
Todd Gravori, M.D., spinal surgery, Beverly Hills.
Defendant's Medical Expert(s):
Cary Alberstone, M.D., neurosurgery, Oxnard.
Plaintiff's Technical Expert(s):
Carol Hyland, vocational rehabilitation, Lafayette.
Defendant's Technical Expert(s):
Nancy Frazier Michalski, RN, BSN, Los Angeles.
Facts and Background
Facts and Background:
On February 28, 2014 plaintiff was traveling westbound on Franklin approaching Orange, near the driveway to the Magic Castle in Hollywood. Defendant driver, Ms. Andrews, who was permissively driving a car owned by AndrewsAG, Inc., was stopped facing eastbound waiting to make a left turn into the driveway of the Magic Castle. As plaintiff's car approached the intersection, defendant driver made a left turn and a crash occurred in the intersection.
That defendant driver was at fault for the crash because she failed to yield to plaintiff's approaching vehicle in violation of Section 21801(a) of the Vehicle Code. That all of plaintiff's injuries were caused by the crash, including disc herniation at C4-C5 and C5-C6. After a conservative course of care, including physical therapy, cervical epidural injections, chiropractic care, acupuncture, and pain management medication, plaintiff underwent a discectomy and fusion at C4-C5 and C5-C6.
Defendant driver disputed liability, contending that plaintiff was at fault for the crash because she was driving faster than the posted speed limit, and had she been traveling the speed limit, she could have avoided the crash by stopping. Also, that plaintiff's injuries, if any, were of a strain/sprain type and would have resolved within months of the crash.
Disputed causation; that while plaintiff's discectomy and fusion were medically reasonable given her complaints and symptomology at the time, they were caused by a fall that occurred more than a year after the crash rather than the crash itself. Defendant driver also contended that the cost of plaintiff's care was unreasonable and should have been $21,371.17, rather than the $336,594.04 billed on a lien basis.
Injuries and Other Damages
Physical Injuries claimed by Plaintiff:
Disc herniation at C4-C5 and C5-C6, requiring discectomy and fusion at both levels.
Plaintiff, who worked as a waitress earning tips prior to the crash, withdrew her lost earnings and diminished earning capacity claim before trial started.
- Special Damages Claimed - Past Medical: $201,132.09 (amount claimed by plaintiff per expert witness Ms. Hyland.)
- Special Damages Claimed - Future Medical: $126,559
- Special Damages Claimed - Past Lost Earnings: None.
- Special Damages Claimed - Future Lost Earnings: None.
Demands and Offers
- Plaintiff §998 Demand: $600,000 to defendant driver; $15,000 to AndrewsAG, Inc.
- Plaintiff Final Demand before Trial: $595,000
- Defendant §998 Offer: $300,000