PSB Obtains $21.5 Million Verdict for Motorcyclist in Freeway Vehicle Collision
Panish Shea & Boyle LLP attorneys Brian Panish, Andrew Owen, and Matthew Stumpf obtained a $21,503,420.48 jury verdict for a Southern California man who suffered catastrophic injuries after a vehicle illegally exiting the 405 Freeway HOV lane struck his motorcycle and sent him careening across three lanes of traffic and into a passing flatbed trailer. The trial was held before the Honorable Stephen M. Moloney of the Los Angeles County Superior Court, Central District.
On February 8, 2018, Plaintiff Matthew Rada was riding his motorcycle in the northbound HOV lane of the 405 Freeway. At the same time, defendant driver Justin Dimapasoc was also traveling in the northbound HOV lane — driving a Kia Optima he had recently repaired for his employer Hardin Irvine Automotive Inc.– when he suddenly and without warning illegally veered out of the HOV lane and crashed into Mr. Rada. The impact of the car accident sent the 26 year old motorcyclist careening across three lanes of traffic and into a passing flatbed trailer, which then launched him off his motorcycle and onto the freeway pavement below.
As a result of the collision, Mr. Rada suffered life-changing injuries including a fractured right femur, multiple fractures in his dominant right hand and an L1 compression fracture. He spent more than two weeks at UC Irvine Medical Center where he underwent numerous surgeries followed by two weeks of inpatient rehabilitation. A graphic designer at Schuberth North America before the incident, Mr. Rada’s functional limitations and chronic pain, compounded with the commensurate mental and emotional distress caused by the collision, have left him unable to perform the work he used to do.
Defendants stipulated to liability just before trial. Defendant Dimapasoc admitted in deposition that he was the sole cause of the collision as a result of committing numerous vehicle code violations including illegally crossing the HOV boundary lanes, failing to signal before exiting the lane and driving in the HOV lane as the sole occupant of the vehicle. The only issue remaining for trial was the nature and extent of harm caused to Mr. Rada as a result of Defendant’s actions.
At trial, Plaintiff’s counsel presented evidence over the course of three days. The Defense called no witnesses to testify and did not present any evidence, instead relying entirely upon cross-examination of Plaintiff’s witnesses and experts to make their case. The jury took only two hours to render their verdict in favor of Plaintiff and awarded $3,503,420.48 in economic damages and $18,000,000 in noneconomic damages for a total of $21,503,420.48.
Defendants Hardin Irvine Automotive Inc. and Justin Dimapasoc were represented in the case and at trial by Kurt A. Schlichter, William A. Percy and Roberto R. Martinez of Schlichter & Shonack, LLP.
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