P. Ryan Banafshe of Banafshe Law Firm, PC Recovers $23.7 Million for Motorcyclist

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After a nine-day bench trial, a Los Angeles County Superior Court judge ordered the defendant to pay the plaintiffs $23,720,966 in total damages.

Banafshe Law Firm, PC, a California personal injury law firm headquartered in Los Angeles, has announced that they represented a Southern California couple in a motorcycle vs. truck accident case that resulted in a $23,720,966 bench award. It was the first case to involve a live civil trial held in Los Angeles since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. (Case No. BC68970, Superior Court of the State of California, County of Los Angeles – Central District).

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 and P. Ryan Banafshe of Banafshe Law Firm, PC. Mr. Rojas suffered catastrophic injuries, including an amputation of his lower leg, following a motorcycle accident involving a utility truck in Studio City on December 5, 2017.

“It was a privilege to represent Mr. and Mrs. Rojas and their family and to be part of this great team of attorneys who brought justice for them. Sadly, Mr. Rojas’ injury will affect him for the remaining years of his life. This award will provide him access to the finances and medical care he needs for him and his family to live the best life they can despite his injury,” said plaintiffs’ attorney P. Ryan Banafshe.

The court’s verdict included $18,000,000 in general damages (primarily past and future pain and suffering) and $4,520,996 in economic damages (primarily past and future medical expenses and lost earnings.) Mrs. Rojas received an additional $1.2 million for loss of consortium to compensate her for her damages. In reaching his decision, Los Angeles County Superior Court Judge Stephen Czuleger considered several factors, including the extent of Mr. Rojas’s injuries, the multiple surgeries his injuries required, his mental trauma and his life expectancy. Mr. Rojas was 40 years old at the time of the accident.

Mr. Banafshe continued, “Mr. and Mrs. Rojas placed their trust in us and I am proud that we were able to fulfill all of the promises we made. We are especially thankful to Los Angeles Superior Court Judge J. Stephen Czuleger for his patience and willingness to proceed to trial, and to the court and its staff for taking every precaution necessary so that the Rojas’ case could safely move forward during this pandemic.”

Just prior to the collision, Plaintiff Steeve Rojas was operating his motorcycle southbound in the left turn pocket lane of Coldwater Canyon toward the intersection of Ventura Boulevard and Coldwater Canyon. At the same time, Defendant Kevin Henderson, acting in his capacity as a Hajoca Corporation employee, was at a complete stop facing a stop sign in his company’s Dodge Ram utility truck on Valleyheart Drive. Mr. Henderson was waiting for three lanes of southbound traffic to clear so that he could make a left turn onto northbound Coldwater Canyon. Mr. Rojas had the right of way and proceeded straight on Coldwater Canyon through the uncontrolled T-intersection at Valleyheart Drive at which time the Dodge Ram entered Mr. Roja’s lane, striking his motorcycle and his right leg. Mr. Rojas was immediately rushed by ambulance to Cedars-Sinai Hospital. Despite undergoing multiple surgeries attempting to save his right lower limb, at the recommendation of his orthopedic surgeons at Cedars-Sinai Hospital and Huntington Memorial Hospital, Mr. Rojas underwent a below the knee amputation of his right leg.

Prior to trial, the defendants only admitted partial liability and proposed an award of less than $5 million. The defense also unsuccessfully argued that Mr. Rojas should be 50% responsible despite having the right of way. Ultimately, Judge Czuleger found the defendants 100% liable and awarded nearly $24 million.

About P. Ryan Banafshe

P. Ryan Banafshe founded Banafshe Law Firm, P.C. in 2002 in order to provide client-focused and results-oriented legal services to accident victims and families through the State of California. He focuses his practice on personal injury and wrongful death cases involving motorcycle accidents, car accidents, truck accidents, slip & falls and other traumatic events. This is Mr. Banafshe’s ninth case resulting in an award of $1 million or greater.

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