Local woman seriously injured in 2017 crash awarded $6.1 million

A former Canyon Country woman seriously injured in a traffic collision two years ago has been awarded a court settlement of $6.126 million.

Chung Wu Hsu, 62, who has since moved from Canyon Country, suffered severe and traumatic injuries after her vehicle was broadsided by a box truck whose driver ran a red light after he dozed off behind the wheel, her lawyers announced Monday in a news release.

Following a 15-day trial, a Los Angeles County jury has awarded Hsu $6.126 million, said the release from the law firm Panish Shea & Boyle LLP.

“Ms. Hsu’s life is forever changed as a result of this horrific collision,” attorney Kevin Boyle was quoted as saying in the news release.

“The jury’s verdict will enable her to get the continued medical treatment she needs and to live her best life possible despite her devastating injuries. We are honored to have represented her in this case,” he said.

In the early morning hours on July 5, 2017, Hsu was driving her 1998 Lexus ES300 eastbound on Newhall Ranch Road, when she approached the intersection with Copper Hill Drive.

She continued with the right of way on a green light when her vehicle was violently T-boned by a white box truck driven by defendant Moises Roberto Martinez Diaz, the law firm reported.

As a result of the collision, Hsu suffered serious and permanent injuries, including trauma to her cervical spine, multiple rib fractures and a traumatic brain injury.

Martinez, an employee of R & P Food Processing Inc., who was acting within the scope of his employment at the time of the collision, admitted to the investigating officer at the scene that he was “half-asleep” and that he had ran a red light.

Hsu’s lawyers said in their news release that Martinez was cited by police for the red light violation and paid the fine — never disputing or appealing the California Vehicle Code 21453(a) violation conviction.

The defendants in the case fought liability and Hsu’s claim for damages for years. 

About six months after the incident, Hsu made a settlement demand, her lawyers said, because liability was unequivocally clear and the damages were so significant that they obviously exceeded the defendants’ $1 million insurance policy limits. 

But, the defendants’ insurance company failed to accept the demand. They continued to deny liability for years until the eve of trial, when they finally admitted Martinez was the sole cause of the collision.

For two days, the jury deliberated.

Then jurors delivered their verdict in favor of the plaintiff, including $275,000 for past economic damages, $851,000 for future economic damages, $1 million in past non-economic damages, and $4 million in future non-economic damages. 

Additionally, and as a result of the defendants’ rejection of the plaintiff’s offer to settle for $1 million in December 2017, the verdict is subject to prejudgment interest at 10% per year. With the interest, as well as fees and costs, the total result is expected to exceed $7.3 million.

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On Twitter: @jamesarthurholt

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