L.A. Jury Awards $42.4 Million to Young Mother in Coma for Nearly Nine Years After Head-On Collision
Los Angeles, CA – A Lancaster jury yesterday awarded $42.4 million to a pregnant mother who has been in a coma ever since a head-on collision in 2015. With interest, the award will likely reach $55 million.
Diana Estevez was a 23-year-old nursing student with a two-year-old son and a second child on the way when the June 1, 2015 accident occurred. Her Saab was struck head-on by a Ford Explorer pickup driven defendant Gregory Kadlec. Kadlec’s pickup veered across Avenue M directly into Estevez’s vehicle.
Estevez suffered massive skull and facial injuries. She gave birth to son, Leon, now 8, via emergency cesarean section while in a coma. She remains in a vegetative state with no awareness of her surroundings and no chance of recovery, doctors testified at trial. Her older son, Ethan, is now 10 years old.
Kadlec blamed the crash on the City of Lancaster, saying he lost control after hitting a pothole. But the jury rejected that story after deliberating for just one hour. It unanimously found Kadlec’s negligence caused the accident.
Kadlec did not attend the trial in person. But Estevez’s attorneys played the jury a recorded statement he gave a sheriff deputy on the day of the crash, where he said nothing about a pothole.
“This case was about taking responsibility,” Echeverria said. “It took almost nine years for Diana to get justice. But in the end, the jury got it right.”
The case is Diana Estevez v. Gregory Kadlec, Los Angeles Superior Court, Case No. MC026448.
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