LOS ANGELES–(BUSINESS WIRE)–#BenchTrial–A Los Angeles County Superior Court judge has awarded $23,720,996 to a Southern California man and his wife after the man suffered a lower leg amputation as a result of being struck by a pickup truck while riding his motorcycle. Plaintiffs were represented in the case and at trial by Brian Panish, Tom Schultz, John Shaller, Matthew Stumpf and James Trotter of Panish Shea & Boyle LLP. Plaintiffs were also represented in the case by P. Ryan Banafshe of Banafshe Law Firm, PC.
On December 5, 2017, Plaintiff Steeve Rojas was driving his motorcycle southbound on Coldwater Canyon toward the intersection of Coldwater Canyon and Ventura Boulevard where he intended to make a left turn. At the same time, Defendant Kevin Henderson, an on duty Hajoca Corporation employee, was at a complete stop in his company’s Dodge Ram on Valleyheart Drive, waiting for southbound traffic to clear so that he could make a left turn on to northbound Coldwater Canyon. As Mr. Rojas proceeded straight through the uncontrolled T-intersection of Valleyheart Drive and Coldwater Canyon, his motorcycle was struck by the Dodge Ram as Defendant Henderson attempted to make a left turn onto northbound Coldwater Canyon. Despite the impact of the collision, Mr. Rojas initially was able to maintain control of his motorcycle until he became overwhelmed with severe pain and was forced to lay his bike down on the pavement.
Following the collision, Mr. Rojas was rushed by ambulance to Cedars-Sinai Medical Center with extensive, life-changing injuries, including an open talus metatarsal fracture dislocation with a crush injury to his lower right foot, a right foot open Chopart fracture dislocation, and a right foot open Lisfranc fracture dislocation. Although he underwent numerous surgeries in an effort to save his right lower limb, eight days following the crash and after transfer to Huntington Hospital, Mr. Rojas underwent a below the knee amputation of his right leg.
In June 2018, Mr. Rojas was outfitted with a prosthesis and several months later attempted to return to work at the Peninsula Hotel where he had a job as a Houseman in the housekeeping department. However, shortly after returning to work, he developed an infection in his leg that required yet another surgery and hospitalization. He has been unable to return to work since.
During trial, Defendants attempted to shift some of the blame for the collision to Mr. Rojas, claiming that his speed was a contributing factor. They also disputed his loss of earnings claim because he had returned to work for a short period of time, the cost of his future care, and his claim for household services.
Following the nine day bench trial, Judge Stephen Czuleger found that Defendants were 100% at fault for the collision and awarded Mr. Rojas $18,000,000 in general damages and $4,520,996 in economic damages. His wife was awarded $1,200,000 for loss of consortium.
“This result will allow Mr. Rojas and his family to move forward after this tragic collision and provides them the financial resources they need for Mr. Rojas’ medical care and future expenses,” said trial attorney, Brian Panish. Co-counsel Tom Schultz continued, “We were honored to help Mr. Rojas and his family obtain justice in this case. He has worked hard his entire life and deserves to be fully compensated for the tremendous loss he has suffered.”
Defendants were represented by Paul Motz of Segal McCambridge Singer & Mahoney, LTD and Kara Pape and Mark Johnson of Tyson & Mendes.
Steeve Rojas v. Hajoca Corporation
Superior Court of the State of California, County of Los Angeles – Central District
Case No. BC689703
Hon. Stephen Czuleger
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