A Los Angeles County jury has awarded a 26-year-old Culver City motorcyclist more than $21.5 million after he was struck by a car and catapulted from his motorcycle at a high speed on the 405 Freeway in Westminster. The crash was caught on video. As per one of the attorneys for the man, he suffered “catastrophic injuries” as a result of the crash that was caused by the driver of a Kia Optima. That driver reportedly made a sudden lane change with no warning from a carpooling lane without signaling. Another motorcyclist with a GoPro camera affixed to his helmet recorded the crash and the other motorcyclist being thrown across three lanes of northbound traffic. The motorcyclist who was hit then crashed into a passing flatbed trailer.
The crash occurred on February 8, 2018, and the man’s lawsuit against the driver of the Optima and was filed in March of 2018. The car was owned by his employer, Hardin Irvine Automotive Inc. The employee was taking the car out on a test drive after repairs. The employer was also made a defendant in the lawsuit. The GoPro video showed the motorcyclist skidding across the road with a trail of smoke and sparks. The driver of the Kia and other witnesses pulled over near the crash scene.
As a result of the collision, the victim suffered a fractured right femur, multiple fractures to his right hand and an L-1 spinal compression fracture. His right hand is his dominant hand. He underwent multiple surgeries at UC Irvine Medical Center where he spent two weeks in rehab. He was a graphic designer at a motorcycle helmet manufacturer before the accident. His attorneys remarked that the man’s functional limitations and chronic pain coupled with significant mental and emotional anxiety that resulted from the crash have left him physically and mentally unable to perform his job. A $4 million settlement offer was made and refused.
Immediately before the trial began, the defendants admitted liability. The driver of the Kia had previously admitted under oath that he was the sole cause of the collision. The only remaining issue at trial became the nature and extent of the plaintiff’s injuries. During the three day proceeding, the defendants presented no evidence. They relied on their cross-examination of the plaintiff’s witnesses. It took the jury a mere two hours to render its verdict. There is no indication as to the policy limits of the defendants’ insurance.