We are pleased to report a plaintiff’s verdict obtained in the San Francisco Superior Court on July 26, 2012 by Lenore Shefman of the Shefman Law Group and Shaana A. Rahman with Rahman Law PC in the case of Tucker v. Mejia. The case involved a hit and run collision between plaintiff, who was traveling on Eddy Street on a fixed gear bicycle, and defendant, an independent contractor operating a Lorrie’s shuttle van. The collision occurred on August 17, 2009 on Eddy Street, near its intersection with Mason. Plaintiff Tucker was riding his bicycle in the number one lane when the defendant began making a lane change from the number two lane into Mr. Tucker’s lane of travel. The van sideswiped Mr. Tucker causing Mr. Tucker to be ejected from his bicycle onto his face.
Mr. Tucker sustained serious facial injuries, including two jaw fractures and two facial fractures all of which required immediate surgery. Plaintiff incurred past medical expenses of approximately $150,000.00.
Defendant never stopped his van and left the scene. A witness chased the van and although the van was identified as a Lorrie’s van, there was never any positive identification of the driver or the van number. Through the use of Lorrie’s internal documents relating to its drivers plaintiff identified four of the 30 Lorrie’s drivers who were in the Union Square area at the time of the collision. Further investigation pointed to defendant Mejia as being the only driver on Eddy Street at the time of the collision. Defendant Mejia denied being involved in the collision although admitted to being on Eddy Street approximately 10 minutes after the collision when he was briefly stopped by the police.
Defendant further contended that there was no contact between the van and the bicyclist. Defendant’s accident reconstruction/biomechanical expert opined that as plaintiff was on a fixed gear bicycle with a single break it was likely that he over-braked and pitched himself over the handlebars. Defendant also contended that plaintiff veered from his lane into the defendant’s lane to make a right turn. As plaintiff admitted fault for the collision to the investigating officers the defendant maintained that plaintiff was to blame for his injuries.
An internal investigation by Lorrie’s led to the identification of four drivers possibly involved, but Lorrie’s never disciplined Mr. Mejia or concluded that he was the driver. Prior to trial the Shefman Law Group reached a settlement with Lorrie’s in the amount of $250,000.00.
The case was tried before The Hon. Ellen Chaitan. Defense counsel was Susan Watson with Harrington, Fox et al. A cross-complaint for indemnity was filed by Lorrie’s counsel Stephanie Krmpotic. The cross-complaint issue was bifurcated.
After an eight day trial and one day of deliberation, the jury returned a 12-0 verdict in favor of plaintiff in the amount of $593,172.67. The jury found that plaintiff was not comparatively at fault.