Personal Injury: Motor Vehicle – Intersection – Minivan – Broadside
Defendant in minivan said he had control of intersection.
CASE Guadalupe A. Moreno, Individually and as Next Friend of Flavio Moreno, Jr. v. Simona G. Villafranca, No. 2005-CI-10610
COURT Bexar County District Court, 57th, TX
JUDGE Joe Frazier Brown
PLAINTIFF ATTORNEY(S) Candelario S. Trevino Jr., Gene Toscano, Inc., San Antonio, TX; Andrew Toscano, Gene Toscano, Inc., San Antonio, TX
DEFENSE ATTORNEY(S) Hella Scheuerman, Susan L. Florence & Associates, San Antonio, TX
FACTS & ALLEGATIONS On March 10, 2004, plaintiff Guadalupe Moreno, 21, a homemaker, was driving a sedan in San Antonio. She was in the outside lane of two lanes that were going her direction. Her two-year-old son was a passenger. Simona Villafranca was traveling in the opposite direction in a minivan and attempted a left turn at an intersection where there was a stoplight. Moreno broadsided Villafranca’s passenger side.
Moreno sued Villafranca for negligence in not yielding the right of way. Moreno testified that her light was green.
Villafranca claimed that she had a green light, though not a green arrow. Her attorney argued that she had control of the intersection and that Moreno failed to control her speed. Also, Villafranca testified that a vehicle just to Moreno’s left had stopped with its blinker on, intending to turn left, and that this vehicle blocked Moreno’s and Villafranca’s view of each other.
INJURIES/DAMAGES back; bulging disc, L4-5; bulging disc, L5-S1; bulging disc, lumbar; chest; contusion.
Both vehicles were totaled, and their air bags deployed.
Moreno did not receive treatment at the scene, though an ambulance came. The accident occurred on a Wednesday, and she began treatment the following Monday, with a chiropractor and physical therapist. She treated for about five months.
She claimed disc bulges at L4-5 and L5-S1. She also saw an orthopedic surgeon. Her past medical bills were $6,100, and she claimed that she would need $2,000 to $3,000 a year for physical therapy and medication for the rest of her life, for a total of about $160,000. She also claimed 10% impairment of the body. The orthopedist said she should not lift more than 15 to 20 pounds. Moreno said she could not lift her son anymore. Including past and future pain and suffering and physical impairment, she sought $246,000.
The child was evaluated by a doctor but had no other treatment. He had a chest contusion, and his medical bills were $135.
The defense argued that the treatment was attorney-driven.
RESULT The jury found Villafranca 99% at fault and Moreno 1 % and determined that Moreno’s gross damages were $165,100, and that her son’s were $135. After reduction to both awards for comparative fault, the plaintiffs’ recovery totaled $163,482.65:
The plaintiffs’ attorneys reported the award to the boy was for past pain and suffering; defense counsel said it was past medical.
The plaintiffs’ attorneys said they were hired less than four weeks before trial.
- $6,100 past medical cost
- $104,000 future medical cost
- $3,500 past physical impairment
- $30,000 future physical impairment
- $1,500 past pain and suffering
- $20,000 future pain and suffering
DEMAND $17,500, later increased to $20,000 (Stowers)
- Trial Length: 3 days
- Trial Deliberations: 4 hours
- Jury Vote: 11-1
PLAINTIFF EXPERT(S) Sanjay Misra, M.D., orthopedic surgery, San Antonio, TX (treater); Patrick Waikem, D.C. chiropractic, San Antonio, TX (treater)
DEFENSE EXPERT(S) None Reported
POST-TRIAL Settled after the verdict for a confidential amount.
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