Minami Tamaki’s Personal Injury Group Helps 23-Year-Old Woman Obtain $4.3 Million After Being Nearly Killed by Semi-Truck

Attorneys in Minami Tamaki’s Personal Injury Group obtained a $4,325,000 award in Alameda Superior Court for a client who was run over by a semi-truck, crushing her pelvis and causing several other major injuries.

Senior Associate Seth I. Rosenberg led the case with help from Partner Dale Minami, Senior Counsel B. Mark Fong, and Associate Eunice W. Yang.

In November 2008, Jane Doe (name withheld to protect the client’s confidentiality), a recent graduate of UC Berkeley, riding her bicycle on Webster Street in downtown Oakland and stopped at a red light at the intersection of Webster Street and 19th Street. She was in the far-right lane and directly to the right of the cab of a tractor-trailer.

When the light turned green, the tractor-trailer attempted to make a right-hand turn and ran over Jane, first knocking her over, then running over her with the front tires of his truck, nearly killing her.

In addition to having her pelvis crushed, Jane also sustained severe nerve damage to her left foot and leg; lung, pulmonary and bladder contusions; an ACL tear; a fractured tailbone; among other injuries. She will suffer chronic pain because of her injuries.

After being run over the truck, Jane was put into a medically-induced coma and placed on a ventilator for days. She was in a hospital for another month, during which she obtained an infection that required weeks of IV antibiotics. Jane required a total of four surgeries to address the pelvic fractures. She will need future surgeries for her chronic lower back pain.

Over time, it was determined that the pelvic injury caused nerve disruption resulting in total and permanent left “foot drop.” Jane needs and will continue to need an ankle brace in order to walk.

Jane’s attorneys at Minami Tamaki sued the truck driver for negligent driving and his employer, the owner of the semi-truck, for negligent hiring and training.

Defense attorneys for the truck driver and the driver’s employer maintained that the driver was not negligent because he had his right-turn blinker on and was constantly checking his mirrors before and during the turn. The defense claimed that Jane was also negligent by riding her bicycle in a crosswalk.

Seth and the team’s attorneys refuted the truck driver’s claims. A visibility study by experts showed that if the truck driver looked in any of his mirrors or windows before or during the turn he would have seen Jane and avoided the accident. More than six witnesses were deposed and none of them could conclusively state they saw a right-turn blinker working on the truck before entering the intersection.

Minami Tamaki attorneys also obtained a key admission from an Oakland police officer that the accident took place outside the crosswalk, so Jane could not have been riding her bicycle in the crosswalk at any point.

Jane’s legal team also established numerous inconsistencies in the truck driver’s testimony, which established that the truck driver was most likely looking at two women crossing in front of him instead of checking his right-side mirrors and windows before making the turn.

Minami Tamaki attorneys were able to obtain a $4,325,000 award for Jane, which will cover her past and future medical costs, which includes ambulation equipment, lifetime prescription medication to address pain management, psychological care and treatment, ongoing medical care, and at least one lumbar fusion surgery.

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