Nate’s honors include being consistently voted a Top 100 Super Lawyer (top .5% of all attorneys); The National Trial Lawyers Top 100 Trial Lawyers; Member of the American Board of Trial Advocates (“ABOTA”); and the Million Dollar Advocates Forum.
Nate Bjerke has tried and won catastrophic personal injury and wrongful death cases all over the country, from Florida to Washington, from California to Vermont. Nate spent the first part of his career defending big business and now uses that experience to help injury survivors when businesses and insurance companies refuse to treat the people they hurt fairly.
Nate has successfully represented clients who have been harmed by corporate giants like Ford Motor Company, Kia Motors, Michelin, Caterpillar, and Kawasaki.
Nate has built a reputation as a fighter and skilled trial lawyer who is often called upon to teach other personal injury lawyers about science in the courtroom, product liability, and trial practice. Much of Nate’s practice focuses on consulting with other injury lawyers on taking the cases over for trial all over the country.
Nate serves on the Board of Governors for the Minnesota Association for Justice and is past Chair of the Education and Product Liability Committee. Nate also serves on a Committee of Minnesota lawyers and judges to shape jury instructions in product liability cases. He is admitted to practice in Minnesota, Wisconsin and California.
Nate’s honors include being voted a Top 100 Super Lawyer (top .5% of all attorneys); The National Trial Lawyers Top 100 Trial Lawyers and the Million Dollar Advocates Forum.
Nate went to college at Hamline University in St. Paul where he was on the Dean’s List and was a two-time all-conference football player. He transferred to the University of St. Thomas where he graduated with honors in 1993. Nate then attended the University of Minnesota Law School and graduated with honors in 1996.
Nate lives with his wife, Tomme, and three daughters, CJ, Avery and Tate in a Minneapolis suburb. Away from the office, Nate enjoys coaching his daughters’ basketball teams, spending time with his family and working out at his local CrossFit gym.
Here are some examples of results he and his clients have received from Minnesota juries over the past few years:
Construction Equipment Defect.
A father in his late 30’s was working at an open mining pit, stacking a heavy conveyer belt onto a truck. He and the construction team were using a front-end loader to raise the conveyer onto the truck, when the hydraulics on the loader failed, causing the conveyer to fall and crush the young father. Nate investigated the incident for the family and determined, with the help of an engineering expert, that there was a defect in the hydraulic system that caused the failure. The case settled without a lawsuit for a confidential seven-figure sum.
Dangerous Aged Tires.
The truck and car tire industry has known for years that the rubber in tires breaks down over time, even if the tires are just sitting in a warehouse. Most tire and car makers now instruct users and retailers to destroy tires that are 10 years old, regardless of tread wear, because they are no longer safe. Nate represented a young man who bought a used pickup right after graduating college. The pickup had been in a wreck and was repaired. The repair shop chose and installed a “new” tire on the pickup. The tire looked almost brand new, but as the DOT stamp on the tire showed, it was 19 years old when it was installed on the truck. Nate’s client drove the truck for about a month, when one afternoon he was driving on the freeway and the aged tire split apart, causing the truck to veer off onto the shoulder and roll over several times, severely injuring Nate’s client. Nate sued the retailer who installed the aged tire and proved it never should have placed a 19 year old tire on the car and hid the dangers from the customer. The case settled during the lawsuit for a very significant, but confidential sum in the Summer of 2017.
In 2010, a 13 year old boy from St. Paul was riding an SUV when on of the SUV’s tires lost its tread. The tire tread loss made it impossible to control the SUV. The SUV veered into the median and rolled over several times. The boy was ejected in the rollover and suffered a horrific brain injury that left him with limited physical function and speech. Nate sued the tire maker and during the lawsuit, the case settled for a very significant but confidential sum.
Car vs. Bus Crash.
A school bus driver in Blue Earth County was driving 11 kids on a gravel road one morning. As she drove up to an intersection with a paved highway, she slowed for a yield sign but didn’t stop. The school bus driver pulled out in front of a mother and her child and caused a horrific crash. The mother’s spine was permanently injured. She found a doctor in Mankato who was able to help with her pain by using treatments called Radio Frequency Neurtotomy (or “RFN) to burn the nerves in her back and by injecting cortisone into her neck to calm the pain caused by herniated discs. The treatment went on for 5 years and cost about $250,000.00. The bus company, its attorneys, and its insurance company blamed the mother for not stopping and letting the bus pass in front of her, said she didn’t really need the medical treatment that helped her live her life and that even if she did need the treatment, it was too expensive and they shouldn’t have to pay for it. Another firm was handling the case and the bus company’s insurance company offered less than $10,000 in settlement. The other firm called Nate to try the case. Nate tried the case to a Blue Earth County jury in Mankato. The jury found the harm done to the mother was worth $485,000.00.
In August 2015, Nate Bjerke and Jenny Olson tried a case in LeSeur County, Minnesota for a young boy who fell into a burning fire pit at an overnight camp. The boy suffered full-thickness burns that required multiple grafting surgeries, leaving him with painful and prominent scarring. Jenny and Nate were able to show the overnight camp violated its own safety rules – and common sense – by allowing the children to run past the fire in a scene one counselor described as “mayhem”. The insurer for the overnight camp never offered more than a few thousand dollars to settle the case, saying there was no way they could be held responsible. The jury disagreed, found the camp responsible and returned a verdict to our client for over $500,000.00.
In May 2016, Nate Bjerke tried a case in Hennepin County for a man in his early ‘60s who was rear-ended by an inattentive driver on Interstate 394. Our client attempted to treat his neck injury conservatively for five years after the crash, but eventually needed neck surgery. The insurance company hired an orthopedic surgeon to testify our client only suffered a neck sprain that should have healed within a few months and that his surgery was unnecessary and due to pre-existing arthritis. The jury rejected the insurance doctor’s testimony and awarded our client $600,000.00, five times the insurance company’s last offer.
Nate Bjerke was asked to assist another law firm representing a woman who was run over by an electric company truck in Williston, North Dakota. She was pinned beneath the truck and suffered a disabling injury that paralyzed half of her body. Before suit, the insurance company representing the electric company and its driver refused to make a settlement offer. Nate and the other firm filed suit in North Dakota and after nearly a year of litigation, the case settled at mediation in March 2016 for a significant but confidential sum.
Nate Bjerke represented a woman who was injured by a piece of patio furniture that was made in China that broke and caused her severe nerve damage and rendered her disabled. The manufacturer initially said they were not responsible for the injury and they would never pay a cent to settle the claim. After years of litigation, Nate was able to settle the case for a very favorable confidential sum.
In January 2013, Nate tried a case in Washington County for a young woman who was rear-ended by a pickup truck on Highway 36. As a result of the crash, Nate’s client underwent a sacro-iliac joint fusion and later suffered from a debilitating condition called Complex Regional Pain Syndrome, or CRPS. After 6 days of trial, the jury returned a verdict of $1.1 million.
In March 2012, Nate and Chuck Slane tried a case in Hennepin County for an injured couple in their sixties who were involved in a head-on car crash that resulted in multiple orthopedic injuries to both and a brain injury to the husband. The insurance company’s best offer before trial was $350,000. The jury returned a net verdict of just over $4.1 million.
In August 2011, a jury returned a gross verdict in a product liability case of over $425,000 to a woman whose hand was trapped in an after-hours depository at a local bank.
In August 2011, a jury returned a verdict against Allstate for more than $525,000 to a woman who broke a bone in her back in a motorcycle crash. Allstate’s highest offer before trial was less than $100,000.
In January 2011, a jury returned a verdict of nearly $300,000 to a man who was rear-ended and permanently injured his neck, resulting in multiple procedures called RFN to kill the nerves in his neck to lessen his pain. Nate took the case over on referral from another firm a month before trial when the insurance company’s highest offer was $40,000.
In 2010, Nate tried a case for a woman in her mid-‘50s who was t-boned at an intersection when the defendant ran a red light – although the defendant claimed her light was green. Nate’s client broke her knee cap. The insurance company’s highest pre-trial offer was $150,000 and the jury returned a verdict of roughly $850,000.
- Minnesota Super Lawyers:
2012 – 2016
- Rising Stars:
: 2006 – 2009, 2011