San Marcos Car Passenger Not Wearing Her Seatbelt in Accident, Red Light Dispute, Suffers Severe Scar to Her Thigh
Our client was an 18 year-old woman who was a front-seat passenger in a vehicle that was traveling from Carlsbad to San Marcos. They were traveling eastbound on Melrose Drive and entered the intersection with South Santa Fe Road, to make a left hand turn onto South Santa Fe Road. At the same time, another vehicle was traveling west on Melrose Drive, going straight through the intersection with South Santa Fe Road. The vehicles arrived in the intersection at the same time and collided in the intersection in a head-on manner. Both drivers claimed they had a green light at the time they entered the intersection.
Our client was not wearing her seatbelt at the time of the accident. When both vehicles came to a rest, our client’s head was stuck between the door and frame of the vehicle, in a space created by the force of the collision. She also had significant abrasions and gashes to her right thigh, scalp, hip, lip, and right ear. Her infant baby was also in the back seat in her car seat.
She was taken by ambulance to Palomar Medical Center where she received three stitches to her scalp, five stitches on her left ear, and twelve stitches for her right hip gash. Her scalp and ear healed well, but the gash on her right thigh left a severe scar, approximately 5 inches long and a ½ an inch wide. The Jurewitz Law Group sent her to a San Diego plastic surgeon for a scar revision consultation. The surgeon recommended scar revision surgery to improve the appearance of the scar, but the thigh would be permanently disfigured even after the surgery.
Since neither driver accepted responsibility for the accident, the Jurewitz Law Group filed a lawsuit against both drivers on behalf of our client. Both parties blamed our client’s injuries--and more specifically the gash on her thigh, which left the lasting scar--on the fact that she was not wearing her seatbelt. However, it was unclear what actually caused the gash on her thigh and whether the injury would have occurred even if she had been wearing her seatbelt. Under California law, failing to wear a seat belt does not prevent an injured victim from recovering unless the at-fault driver can prove that the injuries were caused by failing to wear a seat belt. It was our position that there was no proof that wearing her seatbelt would have prevented her injuries. At mediation, we were able to get the insurance companies for both drivers to pay a total of $42,500 to settle out client’s claim. This settlement left our client with enough money to get the scar revision surgery she needed and walk away with money in her pocket for her pain and suffering.
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