Pedestrian in crosswalk hit at 25 mph. $4M. Los Angeles County.
Pedestrian flies through the air and strikes car's windshield when struck in crosswalk.
- Case Name: Brittany Friedstein v. Lisa Stilson, et al.
- Court and Case Number: Los Angeles Superior Court / 19STCV13037
- Date of Verdict or Judgment: Thursday, October 06, 2022
- Date Action was Filed: Tuesday, April 16, 2019
- Type of Action: Vehicles - vs. Pedestrian
- Judge or Arbitrator(s): Hon. Helen Zukin
- Plaintiffs: Brittany Friedstein
- Defendants: Lisa StilsonChristopher Stilson
- Type of Result: Jury Verdict
- Gross Verdict or Award: $4,005,551
- Net Verdict or Award: $3,004,163.25 net after contributory negligence
- Contributory/Comparative Negligence: 25% to plaintiff
- Economic Damages:
Future medical expenses: $2,305,551
- Non-Economic Damages:
- Trial or Arbitration Time: 12 trial days
- Jury Deliberation Time: 8 1/2 hours
- Attorney for the Plaintiff:
Parris Law Firm by Khail A. Parris and Bruce L. Schechter, Lancaster.
Seck Law by Ibiere Seck, Los Angeles.
- Attorney for the Defendant:
MacDonald & Cody, LLP by Scott L. MacDonald and Douglas M. Carasso, Irvine.
- Plaintiff’s Medical Expert(s):
Fardad Mobin, M.D., neurosurgery, Beverly Hills.
Mehul M. Taylor, M.D., orthopedic surgery, Palmdale.
Stephen Grifka, M.D., otolaryngology, Santa Monica.
- Defendant's Medical Expert(s):
Mark J. Spoonamore, M.D., spinal surgery.
Po-Haong Lu, Psy.D., mental health.
Facts and Background
- Facts and Background:
Plaintiff, a 23-year-old interior designer, was walking in a crosswalk at the intersection of Montana Ave. and 15th Street in Santa Monica on March 12, 2018, when she was struck by the defendant’s car, traveling at approximately 25 mph. The force of the impact shattered the windshield and threw plaintiff 30 feet through the air before she landed in the street.
- Plaintiff's Contentions:
That defendant was negligent in failing to yield the right of way to plaintiff, who was in a protected pedestrian crosswalk. That plaintiff sustained permanent and lifelong injuries and impairments due to the collision – something that the defense medical experts explicitly agreed with. It was undisputed that the plaintiff suffered a mild traumatic brain injury (MTBI) and that she would need a second knee surgery to deal with her chronic pain and knee instability.
That plaintiff will also potentially need back surgery to address the chronic back pain she now suffers from. She was an avid skier and athlete before the accident, but now cannot do physical activities at the level she once did.
- Defendant's Contentions:
Defendant argued that she never saw plaintiff in the crosswalk, and there were no eyewitnesses other than the defendant. Defendant used the fact that plaintiff could not remember anything due to the head injury. She specifically did not remember walking into the intersection. Accordingly, according to defendant, plaintiff must have run out in front of the car or otherwise have been negligent because the defendant was looking straight ahead and never saw plaintiff.
Regarding injuries, that plaintiff only underwent one knee surgery and physical therapy, where she reported progress. Thus, her injuries had fully resolved and she did not need extensive future care for her knee. Additionally, because the plaintiff’s autoimmune disorder is an inflammatory condition, which can affect joints and mental functions, her chronic pain and mental injuries are reasonably attributable to her underlying autoimmune condition.
Injuries and Other Damages
- Physical Injuries claimed by Plaintiff:
As a result of the collision the plaintiff suffered a torn ACL, torn meniscus, damaged discs in her back, fractured nose, fractured orbital, and a mild TBI, with ongoing cognitive issues such as tinnitus and migraines.
Demands and Offers
- Plaintiff Final Demand before Trial: $699,999
- Defendant Final Offer before Trial: $250,000