Speed and Error Contribute
to Plaintiff’s Injuries
By Patricia L. Harman
Verdict: Plaintiff, $10 million in
damages, $5 million actual award
Venue: Los Angeles County, California
Plaintiff: Antonio Pureco, 38
Defendants: Felipe De La Torre Carrillo,
American Transport and David De La
Insurer: Allstate Insurance Co.
Demand: $30 million
Antonio Pureco was coming home from his work as a gar- dener and because of the way he approached his apartment
building, had to make a U-turn to park
in front of it. He turned on his right turn
signal as if indicating to turn right into
another apartment building, then swung
the car around to make a U-turn on the
A car driven by 18-year-old David De
La Torre Carrillo had been following behind Pureco and moved to go around him
when he turned on his signal and moved
to the right-hand side of the road. De La
Torre Carrillo struck Pureco in the driver’s
side door when Pureco began his U-turn.
The impact of the crash was so severe that
Pureco was knocked unconscious and
had to be removed from the vehicle with
the Jaws of Life.
Pureco remained unconscious for two
weeks and was eventually diagnosed with
a severe traumatic brain injury, a left diaphragm injury and his femur was pushed
through the socket of his hip bone. He
experienced a month of concussive amnesia after he awoke from the concussion.
Because his injuries were so severe, his
physicians waited to perform the hip replacement, which he needed following the
injury to his femur.
De La Torre Carillo was cited for excessive speed, while Pureco was cited for an
unsafe U-turn. Pureco alleged that De La
Torre Carillo and his father, Felipe De La
Torre Carrillo who was believed to be the
owner of the car, were liable for his injuries. American Transport, a California
transportation company was later added
to the case as a defendant, but it was determined the company was not involved
and they were removed from the case.
Pureco’s accident reconstruction expert
determined that De La Torre Carillo was
traveling between 53 and 58 mph on the
street which had a 35 mph speed limit.
The defendant’s counsel contended that the
speed at impact was 46 mph and that even if
De La Torre Carillo had been traveling the
speed limit, the impact would have been
less and struck the rear fender of the vehicle
instead of the driver’s side door, resulting in
less severe injuries for Pureco. The defense
counsel also countered that Pureco’s negligence contributed to his injuries.
Plaintiff’s counsel alleged that Pureco
would never be able to go back to work.
All of the experts agreed that he suffered
from severe cognitive issues due to the
traumatic brain injury. Pureco’s counsel
argued that he requires 24/7 care, has a life
expectancy that has been reduced by seven years and would likely suffer dementia
by age 60. They valued his lifetime of care
at $12 million.
The defendant’s counsel countered that
Pureco only needed care eight hours a day
and could move into a full-time care facility following the onset of dementia, and
valued the cost of his care at $3.8 million.
The jury determined that Pureco’s damages totaled $10 million, but apportioned
50 percent of the fault to him, allowing
him to recover $5 million: $1 million for
past pain and suffering, $5 million for future pain and suffering, and $4 million for
future medical costs.
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