Case details

Motorcyclist claimed crash resulted in leg amputation





Result type

Not present

ankle, dislocation, fracture
On Dec. 5, 2017, plaintiff Steeve Rojas, 40, a houseman at the Peninsula Hotel, was motorcycling on southbound Coldwater Canyon, in Los Angeles. As he proceeded through the uncontrolled T-intersection with Valleyheart Drive, his motorcycle was struck by a 28-foot utility truck operated by Kevin Henderson, who was making a left turn from Valleyheart Drive onto northbound Coldwater Canyon. Rojas was ultimately forced to lay his bike down on the pavement. He claimed he sustained to his right, lower leg and right foot. Rojas sued Henderson and Henderson’s employer, Hajoca Corp., which owned Henderson’s truck. Rojas alleged that Henderson was negligent in the operation of his vehicle and that Hajoca Corp. was vicariously liable for Henderson’s actions while in the course and scope of his employment. Rojas’ counsel argued that Henderson was the sole cause of the collision by negligently turning left in front of Rojas, in violation of Rojas’ right of way. Counsel contended that as a result, Henderson broadsided Rojas with his company truck. Counsel also contended that Rojas was initially able to maintain control of his motorcycle, but that Rojas became overwhelmed with severe pain and was forced to lay his bike down on the pavement. Thus, Rojas’ counsel argued that Rojas was not negligent and that there was no action Rojas could have reasonably undertaken that would have made the collision avoidable. Defense counsel noted that, prior to the collision, Henderson was at a complete stop on Valleyheart Drive, waiting for southbound traffic to clear so that he could make the left turn onto northbound Coldwater Canyon. Counsel admitted that Henderson was negligent, but argued that Rojas bore 50 percent fault for driving too fast for the traffic conditions and for failing to keep a proper lookout as he approached the intersection. Defense counsel further argued that the collision could have been avoided had Rojas taken appropriate measures., Rojas sustained a crush injury to his lower, right foot, resulting in multiple fractures, including open fracture dislocations of the talus and a metatarsal, an open Chopart’s fracture dislocation and an open Lisfranc fracture dislocation. He was rushed by ambulance to Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, in Los Angeles, and underwent numerous surgeries in an effort to save his right, lower limb. Eight days after the crash, after being transferred to Huntington Hospital, in Pasadena, Rojas underwent a below-the-knee amputation of his right leg. Rojas claimed that because of his , he is unemployable and requires a lifetime of future medical and psychiatric treatment. Rojas sought recovery of past and future medical costs, and damages for his past and future pain and suffering. His wife, Sandra Acevedo, a housekeeper, became a homemaker for the couple’s four children after the accident. Thus, she sought recovery for her loss of consortium. Defense counsel disputed the severity of Rojas’ residual and the alleged cost of future medical care. Counsel also disputed Rojas’ loss-of-earnings claim, and contended that Rojas was able to work.
Superior Court of Los Angeles County, Los Angeles, CA

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