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Woman hit by car while examining collision's damage

Article published at September 13, 2010


MOTOR VEHICLE - Rear-Ender * Multiple Vehicle * Pedestrian

SETTLEMENT  $370,000

CASE  Rodolfo Gonzalez and Amanda Gonzalez v. Gina Witt and Alan Torneros, No. 483505

COURT  Superior Court of San Mateo County, San Mateo, CA

JUDGE  Steven Dylina

DATE  3/23/2010


Matthew Wertheim, Law Office of Matthew Wertheim, San Francisco, CA


Carl E. Kadlie, Toschi, Sidran, Collins & Doyle, P.C., Oakland, CA (Alan Torneros)
Charles R. Roe, Samuelson Wilson & Roe, San Jose, CA (Gina Witt)
Steven C. Toschi, Toschi, Sidran, Collins & Doyle, P.C., Oakland, CA (Alan Torneros)


FACTS & ALLEGATIONS  On Dec. 16, 2008, plaintiffs Rodolfo Gonzalez, 78, and Amanda Gonzalez, 72, were northbound on the Washington Street on-ramp to Interstate 280 in Daly, when traffic slowed and their vehicle was rear-ended by Alan Torneros.

Following the accident, the drivers got out of their cars to exchange information. Amanda Gonzalez exited the vehicle and was examining minor damage to the bumpers, standing between the two cars, when a vehicle driven by Gina Witt rear-ended Torneros' vehicle, propelling it forward into Amanda Gonzalez.

The Gonzalezes sued Torneros and Witt, alleging negligent operation of a motor vehicle. Additionally, they contended that torneros was negligent in not moving his vehicle or placing flares post-accident, and that if he had done so the second accident would not have occurred.

Torneros denied that he was a contributing factor to the second collision.

INJURIES/DAMAGES fracture, femur; heart condition; skin grafts; staph infection

Amanda Gonzalez sustained a fractured femur. Her injury was worsened by a serious hospital staph infection. She eventually underwent skin grafts and was hospitalized for two months.

Rodolfo Gonzalez witnessed his wife's injury. In addition, three weeks later he was hospitalized for congestive heart failure, which he contended was related to the stress of his wife's injury.

Tonrneros denied that his negligence in the first accident was a proximate cause of any injury.

Witt denied that Rodolfo Gonzalez's injuries were related to the accident.

RESULT  The parties agreed to a pretrial settlement of $370,000 at a mandatory settlement conference following mediation. Amanda Gonzalez received $250,000 and Rodolfo Gonzalez received $120,000. Under the agreement, Witt paid 170,000 and Torneros paid $200,000.


Progressive Insurance Co. for Witt
State Farm Insurance Co. for Torneros



Thomas J. Ayres, Ph.D., human factors, Kensington, CA
William S. Breall, M.D., cardiology, San Francisco, CA
John Hughes, accident investigation & reconstruction/failure analysis/product liability, Vacaville, CA
Lawrence R. Lievense, medical practice guidelines, Camarillo, CA


DEFENSE EXPERT(S)  None reported

EDITOR'S NOTE  This report is based on information provided by plaintiff's counsel. Defense counsel did not respond to the reporter's phone calls.

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