Nearly two years after a motorcyclist was struck by a car and hurled onto the 405 Freeway in Westminster, a jury on Tuesday awarded him $21.5 million for his injuries.
A lawsuit filed in March 2018 against the driver of a Kia Optima and his employer, an Irvine car dealership, detailed injuries Matthew Rada suffered in a crash the month before.
The lawsuit said the driver improperly changed lanes, shifting out of the HOV lane without signaling and striking Rada, who was riding a motorcycle on the northbound 405. Rada was flung from his motorcycle by the impact and into another vehicle, resulting in serious, long-lasting injuries that have required several surgeries, according to court records.
The driver was “unfit and incompetent” to perform the work he was hired to do and the “hiring, training and retention” of the driver by his employer, Hardin Irvine Automotive Inc., was a contributing factor in the collision, the suit states.
Andrew Owen, one of Rada’s attorneys, said the parties initially could not agree on what type of compensation Rada should receive for his injuries, which spurred the lawsuit.
“The jury spoke to that,” Owen said. “The community and citizens of every part of L.A. County came together and told Matthew Rada what his injuries were worth.”
GoPro video captured at the time of the crash showed Rada skidding along the pavement, leaving behind a trail of sparks. On the video, both the driver of the Kia and a second driver pulled over after the collision, as did other witnesses.
Owen said Rada would suffer from his injuries “for the rest of his life” and was grateful for the verdict.
“He obviously has never been through a process like this. He’s still kind of numb,” the lawyer said. “He’s very thankful for what the jury did, but it’s by no means over for him.”