Avis employee hits a bicyclist with SUV. $5.2M. Los Angeles County.

The Case

  • Case Name: Karina Sanchez v. Avis Budget Group, Inc.
  • Court and Case Number: Los Angeles County / BC568846
  • Date of Verdict or Judgment: Friday, January 19, 2018
  • Date Action was Filed: Monday, January 08, 2018
  • Type of Case: Bicycle Accident
  • Judge or Arbitrator(s): Hon. Mary Ann Murphy
  • Plaintiffs:
    Karina Sanchez, 19, culinary student.
  • Defendants:
    Avis Budget Group, Inc.
  • Type of Result: Jury Verdict

The Result

  • Gross Verdict or Award: $5,203,984
  • Net Verdict or Award: $4,163,187.20
  • Settlement Amount: $4,500,000
  • Contributory/Comparative Negligence: 80% defendant; 20% plaintiff.
  • Economic Damages:


  • Trial or Arbitration Time: 5 days
  • Jury Deliberation Time: 1 day.
  • Jury Polls: Not polled.

The Attorneys

  • Attorney for the Plaintiff:

    The Vartazarian Law Firm by Steven Vartazarian and Matthew Whibley, Sherman Oaks.

  • Attorney for the Defendant:

    Homan & Stone by Gene Stone, Redlands.

The Experts

  • Plaintiff’s Medical Expert(s):

    Jennifer Sohal, M.D., orthopedic Surgery, Los Angeles.

  • Defendant's Medical Expert(s):

    William Dillin, M.D., orthopedic surgery, Los Angeles.

  • Plaintiff's Technical Expert(s):

    Henricus Jansen, accident reconstruction.

  • Defendant's Technical Expert(s):

    Jon Landerville, accident reconstruction.

Facts and Background

  • Facts and Background:

    On July 10, 2013, plaintiff was riding her bicycle on the sidewalk in the opposite direction of street traffic. Defendant  driver, in the course and scope of employment with Avis, was exiting a parking lot intending on turning right. As plaintiff passed in front of the parking lot exit, defendant ran into plaintiff’s left side with his SUV. 

  • Plaintiff's Contentions:

    That defendant driver was negligent.

  • Defendant's Contentions:

    Defendant alleged that plaintiff was not paying attention and recklessly rode her bicycle in front of the defendant’s SUV.

    Defendant denied liability for the collision and disputed the nature and extent of the injuries and damages suffered by plaintiff.

Injuries and Other Damages

  • Physical Injuries claimed by Plaintiff:

    Plaintiff had a thoracic disc herniation as a result of the incident that required two spine surgeries: a discectomy and a fusion. She also had physical therapy. The thoracic disc herniation went undiagnosed for several months (her doctors incorrectly believed it was her lumbar spine that she injured). Plaintiff’s injuries were severe. She suffered bowel and bladder incontinence for two years before it resolved, and has ongoing reduced ability to use her left leg. She can walk, but will most likely have a permanent limp.

Special Damages

  • Special Damages Claimed - Past Medical: $103,984.00
  • Special Damages Claimed - Future Medical: 0
  • Special Damages Claimed - Past Lost Earnings: 0
  • Special Damages Claimed - Future Lost Earnings: 0

Demands and Offers

  • Plaintiff §998 Demand: $599,999 - rejected by defendant.
  • Defendant Offer during Trial: $3,000,000

Additional Notes

According to defense counsel

The case was mediated but plaintiff never reduced her demand below $10,000,000 and would not negotiate at all after plaintiff's second surgery.