Driver Seriously Injured in Highway Accident

Synopsis

Plaintiffs' Allegations

On December 28, 2012, plaintiff Patricia Rogers, 63, was driving home from work when another driver, James Frederick Mitchell, turned onto the highway directly in her path, causing her to slam into him. The impact of the crash damaged Ms. Rogers' car so severely that she had to be extricated from the car by emergency personnel. The investigating officer from CHP determined that Mr. Mitchell caused the crash by violating California Vehicle Code section 21804(a), failing to yield.

Ms. Rogers and her husband, Charles Morgan, sued Mr. Mitchell, claiming that Mr. Mitchell should not have pulled out in front of Ms. Rogers. Mr. Mitchell claimed that Ms. Rogers was driving too fast under the circumstances

Injuries

As a result of the collision, Ms. Rogers was taken by ambulance to Santa Rosa Memorial Hospital, where she remained until January 15, 2013. Her right femur was fractured and surgically repaired by the placement of screws and a plate. She had several fractured ribs, with resulting acute respiratory failure. She suffered severe bruising to her chest, legs, and abdomen. She developed horrible wheezing and coughing, despite having had no breathing problems prior to the crash. She suffered an embolism and two fractured cervical vertebrae.

After Ms. Rogers' hospitalization, she rehabilitated at Golden Living Rehabilitation Center until April 8, 2013, more than three months after the crash.

Post-surgery on her right femur, her thigh is painful and she has swelling in her thigh, knee, calf, ankle and foot. As a result of her injuries caused by the crash, Ms. Rogers' right leg now splays to the right, and she experiences intermittent pain in her neck and shoulder. Furthermore, she now has a constantly hoarse voice, which was not present before the crash. Ms. Rogers has pain in her lower back, making it uncomfortable to sit and stand. She suffers from headaches, memory loss, decreased mentation, depression, nightmares, difficulty sleeping, and anxiety while driving. She has developed internal bleeding as a result of the pain medications she was prescribed after the crash.

At the time of the incident, Ms. Rogers had been working as a receptionist at a veterinary clinic. Due to her injuries and functional limitations, plaintiffs' vocational consultant opined that Ms. Rogers would not be able return to any form of employment.

Damages

Ms. Rogers required extensive medical care for her injuries, including surgeries, injections, medications, and pain management. Her recoverable medical expenses totaled $128,467.60. The cost of her future care was estimated to exceed $100,000. Her past and future lost earnings totaled $227,500. Thus, her economic damages totaled $455,967.60. Plaintiffs also sought non-economic damages and damages for loss of consortium.

Settlement

The plaintiffs settled with the defendant before trial for a total of $825,000. This amount included the full extent of Mr. Mitchell's recoverable insurance and a substantial payment from his personal assets.