The exterior of the Los Angeles landmark, Union Station. Photo by John Schreiber.

A motorcyclist who was left a paraplegic after a collision with one of USC’s shuttle buses near Union Station reached a settlement in his lawsuit against the university.

Lawyers for plaintiff Robert Sorenson filed court papers Oct. 16 in Los Angeles Superior Court stating that the case was resolved. Kevin Boyle, one of Sorenson’s lawyers, said Monday morning the settlement amount was confidential, but that the university admitted negligence and that the negligence was the cause of Sorenson’s injuries.

The settlement was more bad news for USC that has recently drawn front-page headlines for sex and drug scandals involving now-former top officials at the campus’ medical school.

In this latest injury settlement, the accident occurred about 10:05 p.m. on April 17, 2015. Sorenson was riding his motorcycle east on Cesar Chavez Avenue and the bus driver was traveling in the opposite direction on the same street and turned left onto southbound Vignes Street in front of the plaintiff, according to Sorenson’s court papers.

The motorcyclist said he took evasive action, but was unable to avoid crashing into the bus. He maintained that the collision could have been avoided had the bus driver driven with more care. Instead of taking a “safe” left turn, the bus driver “tried to shoot the gap” by cutting his turn short in front of Sorenson’s path, according to the plaintiff’s court papers.

USC’s lawyers stated in their court papers that Sorenson appeared to be slowing as he entered the intersection, but then suddenly accelerated while the signal was turning yellow. They said Sorenson was traveling about 10 to 15 mph over the 35 mph speed limit when the collision happened.

Not long before the accident, Sorenson had obtained a degree in respiratory therapy and had passed two of three exams taken to become a registered respiratory therapist.

“Upon returning home, Robert had to rely on his mother for almost everything,” according to his court papers. “The shame and embarrassment of a grown man having to have his mother care for him in this way is profound.”

–City News Service

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