A jury this week ordered an Irvine auto firm and one of its mechanics to pay $23 million to a Culver City man seriously injured after the mechanic, lawyers argued, veered out of a carpool lane on the 405 Freeway while test-driving a car and struck the plaintiff’s motorcycle.
The Feb. 8, 2018, crash was captured on video by another motorcyclist’s helmet camera.
The Los Angeles Superior Court panel deliberated for most of Tuesday afternoon before reaching its verdict in the case brought by 28-year-old Matthew Rada against Hardin Irvine Automotive Inc. and its employee, Justin Dimapasac.
Defense attorneys admitted liability before trial and the jury was tasked only with assessing Rada’s damages.
Brian Panish, an attorney for the plaintiff, said he was pleased with the verdict: “It shows once again that the jury system works.”
Trial testimony said that Rada was riding his motorcycle south on the freeway near the Orange County/Long Beach border about 5:45 p.m. when the collision occurred.
“The initial impact sent plaintiff careening across three lanes of the 405 Freeway into a passing flatbed trailer,” Rada’s court papers say.
Dimapasac was test-driving a customer’s Kia Optima and should not have been driving in the carpool lane, said Andrew Owen, another plaintiff attorney.
The other motorcyclist stopped and voluntarily turned over the footage of the accident recorded on his helmet camera.
Rada suffered “life-changing injuries in the collision, including … several orthopedic fractures requiring multiple surgeries, chronic pain and commensurate mental and emotional distress,” the suit says.