You never want to see another motorcyclist go down—especially when you’re just out riding on your local roads. On February 18, 2018, rider Matthew Rada suffered “catastrophic” injuries when a Kia Optima abruptly left a carpool lane without signaling on LA’s 405 freeway. Luckily, another rider captured the entire thing on his GoPro—and the footage clinched the case for Rada in court.
If you find the video above difficult to watch—it shows the crash and the immediate aftermath—there’s some grim satisfaction in knowing how it turns out. Seeing a motorcyclist not only get hit but also get thrown across three lanes of traffic to bounce hard off a flatbed trailer loaded with cargo is nothing but horrifying.
It’s totally understandable, in fact, if you don’t want to watch the video. Rada suffered multiple serious injuries, several broken bones, and underwent several surgeries during the two weeks he was hospitalized following this crash, according to ABC7.
Besides the motorcyclist who recorded this video, several other vehicles stopped, and their drivers got out to help the injured motorcyclist and keep him from further harm before an ambulance could arrive. This video ultimately helped a Los Angeles County jury award a verdict in the amount of $21,503,420.48 to Rada, in a suit against both the Optima’s driver and that driver’s employer, an Irvine car dealership.
According to the Orange County Register, the Optima’s driver was a mechanic who was test-driving a customer’s car after performing repairs and should not have been in the carpool lane in the first place.
Rada’s attorneys characterize his injuries as “life-changing.” Prior to the crash, Rada had been a graphic designer for Schuberth North America. However, due to the extent of his injuries—including multiple fractures in his dominant hand and an L1 vertebral compression fracture—he is no longer able to do that work.
The trial lasted three days, but the jury took only two hours to declare a verdict after witnessing all the evidence presented. Prior to the trial, defense attorneys had already admitted guilt—the purpose of the trial was only to establish what damages were due to Rada.