Jane D (fictitious name), a 75-year-old mother of five children and grandmother of 10, was returning home from her morning walk when she was struck by a commercial vehicle in 2009 on a busy San Francisco intersection. She suffered serious injuries that crushed her pelvis and eventually required amputation of her left leg.
Jane had walked three to five steps into the crosswalk when the driver, John R. (also fictitious name), struck her while making a right turn in his company-owned vehicle. Because the driver claimed he never saw her, Jane was dragged for six feet after she was hit, leaving a trail of bloody tissue on the street.
When the truck finally came to a halt, Jane had suffered de-gloving injuries to both legs, multiple foot, leg and pelvic fractures, and extensive abdominal injuries. She was transported to San Francisco General Hospital in critical condition.
Jane sued the truck driver, John R., for motor vehicle negligence, and John’s employer for negligent hiring, training and supervision of their driver.
Following the collision, Jane underwent numerous surgeries, including abdominal surgery and cauterization to prevent her from bleeding to death, below knee amputation of her left leg and multiple skin grafts to replace the lost tissue on her legs. Her injuries eventually caused Jane to suffer from sepsis due to infection.
After her injuries healed, Jane’s physicians explained she would continue to suffer from impaired mobility, chronic pain and post-traumatic stress disorder. Her amputation also left her with a hypersensitive stump. Once stabilized, Jane was transported to a nursing home for convalescence.
The defendants argued Jane should not have been walking across the street by herself due to her impaired senses: Jane was legally blind in one eye, and, being 75 years old, had some hearing loss. A neurologist had also seen her four months before the accident for memory problems that were felt to be signs of early dementia.
Defendants claimed Jane walked into the rear of the truck, and, had she been able to see and hear the truck approaching with its flashing signals and large size, she would not have walked into its path. The MT team produced eyewitness testimony that Jane was well into the crosswalk with the green light in her favor prior to the collision. Defendants stated that because this witness was a homeless alcoholic man, his recollection of the events was unreliable.
Jane sought recovery of her past medical expenses in the amount of $2,397,887.55, which included $622,164.18 paid by Medi-Cal and Medicare. She is no longer able to care for herself, help with the family’s dry cleaning business or get around on her own. She will require attendant care for the rest of her life. The defendants contested Jane’s claims, both as to liability, the amount of her damages and the length of her life expectancy based on her preexisting health conditions.
Minami, Fong, Rosenberg and Yang were able to reach a $5 million settlement for Jane at mediation. Jane’s family expresses their great satisfaction for the assistance given their mother and grandmother. The amount of the settlement will provide Jane with all of the medical and attendant care she will require for the rest of her life, and with the means to reunite with her family in China.