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$21.5 Million Verdict Awarded to Southern California Motorcyclist

A Los Angeles County Jury recently awarded a motorcyclist $21,503,420.48 on February 8, 2018. The motorcyclist had been riding in the northbound 405 HOV lane at the same time as the defendant who was test driving a Kia Optima that he had repaired for his employer, Hardin Irvine Automotive, Inc. His employer was also named in the lawsuit.

You can see a copy of the complaint on the Panish, Shea & Boyle website here.

How it Happened:

The driver of the Kia was found to have illegally veered into the motorcycle suddenly and without warning. The magnitude of the high-speed impact propelled the motorcyclist across three lanes of traffic and into the side of a passing flatbed trailer. The second impact then threw him off his motorcycle and onto the pavement. Another motorcyclist on the 405 filmed the crash with a camera that was attached to his helmet. He stopped at the crash scene and turned over the footage. It showed a trail of sparks from the motorcycle skidding on the pavement.

The Injuries:

As a result of the crash, the plaintiff spent two weeks hospitalized at UC Irvine Medical Center recovering from a fracture of the right femur, numerous right dominant hand fractures and an L-1 spinal compression fracture. Multiple surgeries and rehabilitation were required. The victim had been employed as a graphic designer. His attorneys argued that his injuries, chronic pain and functional limitations coupled with emotional and mental anxiety resulting from the collision rendered him unable to do the work that he did before the crash.


Immediately prior to the start of the trial, the defendants admitted liability. In his discovery deposition the driver of the Kia admitted that he was the sole cause of the crash and committed several traffic violations immediately before it happened.

Evidence on the issue of damages lasted for three days. The defense didn’t call any witnesses or put on any evidence. It only cross-examined the plaintiff’s witnesses. It took the jury a mere two hours to issue its award. More than $3.5 million in economic damages were awarded along with $18 million of non-economic damages.

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