Some law firms like to try to impress you with all of their large verdicts and settlements. But sometimes, justice comes in an amount less than a million dollars. We too have had great success with million dollar verdicts and settlements, but we thought it may be more meaningful to share with you cases where our skill and efforts have greatly improved the result of the case.
Construction Equipment Defect
A father in his late 30s was working at an open mining pit, stacking a heavy conveyor belt onto a truck. He and the construction team were using a front-end loader to raise the conveyor onto the truck when the hydraulics on the loader failed, causing the conveyor to fall and crush the young father. Nate investigated the incident for the family and, with the help of an engineering expert, determined 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.
Car vs. Bus Crash
One morning, a school bus driver in Blue Earth County was driving 11 kids on a gravel road. 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 Neurotomy (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 five years and cost about $250,000. The bus company, its attorneys, and its insurance company blamed the mother for not stopping and letting the bus pass in front of her. They 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.
Traumatic Brain Injury - TBI
Plaintiff was a passenger in a car driven by his girlfriend on Highway 55 in Eagan in the middle of the afternoon. The car stalled at the light. The hazard lights were put on. Plaintiff went to look under the hood to see what was wrong while his girlfriend attempted to start the car. The vehicle was rear-ended at highway speeds. Defendant admitted he was looking down at something in his car. Plaintiff was thrown into the engine compartment.
As a result of the crash, Plaintiff sustained a serious traumatic brain injury requiring surgery, a broken nose, cracked ribs, cracked pelvis, bruised lungs and liver, lacerations to his leg, burns from the engine of the vehicle, and numerous other scrapes, cuts and abrasions. He was transported to Regions Hospital and spent about 30 days in the there. He suffered diffuse cerebral edema and a left hemispheric intraparenchymal hemorrhagic foci with a large subdural hematoma. He underwent surgery which included a left frontotemporal parietal craniectomy to relieve swelling, decompression and removal of the subdural hematoma and partial evacuation of the left temporal lobe hematoma. The plan was to save part of cranium removed and replace it after the swelling subsided. However, the bone ended up getting infected and was not usable. Instead, a couple of months after discharge, he underwent an acrylic cranioplasty. Plaintiff has recovered from most of his injuries, but continues to suffer the effects of the traumatic brain injury. He is able to live on his own and handle all of his daily activities. The case was settled for the liability limits of $500,000 and the UIM limits of $100,000 for a total of $600,000. A large portion of the settlement proceeds were put into a structured annuity.
Paralyzed in a Car Crash
Maridell was a passenger in her boyfriend’s car when he ran a stop sign and collided with another vehicle. Maridell was paralyzed from the waist down and had several hundred thousand dollars worth of medical bills, which were eventually paid by health insurance and Medicare.
Maridell was reluctant to sue her boyfriend for his negligence. Eventually, Maridell’s son took over and allowed TSR Injury Law to go forward in a comprehensive manner. An accident reconstruction was preformed, and it was determined that Maridell’s boyfriend was the majority at fault, but the other driver failed to take any type of evasive maneuvers. Even though the other driver had the right of way, photo and skid mark analysis proved the second driver was not keeping a proper lookout.
Because of the severity of the injuries, we were able to secure the full $100,000 policy limit from the other driver, as well as collect $250,000 from the vehicle Maridell was riding in. Although the total of $350,000 settlement was not a full reimbursement of what she was owed for her injuries, we had collected from every insurance policy available. Partner Steve Terry was then able to negotiate with Medicare and create a special needs trust so that Maridell was able to receive most of the compensation and also keep her federal government benefits, which could have been extinguished due to the large settlement.
Truck vs. Car Crash
Partner Rich Ruohonen represented Sabina. She was a passenger in her husband’s vehicle when he attempted to pass another vehicle while in a legal passing zone. While they were passing, a truck pulled out onto the highway, causing an immediate collision.
Sabina suffered a non-dominant, left humerus fracture which required open reduction internal fixation with the use of a plate and six screws. The fracture caused mild radial nerve injury, resulting in ongoing pain. She also suffered a soft tissue injury in her shoulder on the same side.
She incurred approximately $99,500 in medical bills and lost wages, most of it covered by no-fault. Sabina settled with her husband’s insurer for the policy limits of $30,000. The defendant offered only $85,000 to settle this case prior to trial. Sabina and Rich declined this ridiculously low offer and tried the case against the driver of the truck.
The case was tried to a Barron County jury with co-counsel Mark Yira of Yira Law Offices. The jury found 75% fault on the truck driver and 25% fault on Sabina’s husband. The jury awarded a total of $216,163.71. Ultimately, the amount paid was approximately double the final offer made by the defendant’s insurance. This is believed to be the largest Plaintiff’s verdict in Barron County, Wisconsin in several years.
Post-traumatic Neck Syndrome Car Crash
Shanna, a young, single mom, was driving her child to daycare. The defendant turned into the driver’s side of Shanna’s vehicle at a stop sign. The vehicle sustained minimal damage. Shanna was diagnosed with disc bulging at C6-7 and C4-5, loss of alignment suggesting muscular spasm, and occipital neuritis (commonly called post-traumatic neck syndrome).
Shanna just wanted to cover her expenses and sought $7,500. Geico offered $6,000. TSR Injury Law and Shanna refused this offer. Two weeks prior to trial, Geico settled the case for $26,000.
Kelly was a passenger in a vehicle driven by her husband. Her husband was attempting to take a drink of water while driving and began to choke. He lost control of his car and went into oncoming traffic, which caused a tremendous collision. The insurance company claimed that it was “an act of God,” and initially wanted to deny all the injury claims to Kelly and her two children, who were backseat passengers. Investigation revealed a different story and eventually policy limits were paid of $100,000 for Kelly and an additional $160,000 for her two children. Steve Terry put her children’s cases together in an annuity with a qualified assignment and they will receive compensation through age 25 on a tax-free basis.
Pedestrian - Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI)
Josh, pedestrian, was hit by a vehicle after he and the driver exchanged words. Josh was knocked to the ground and hit his head on another car and the pavement. As a result, he suffered a traumatic brain injury. The driver left the scene and was turned in by the passenger a couple of days later. The driver accused the passenger of driving the vehicle, but later plead guilty to an offense involving driving the vehicle. Josh spent four weeks in the hospital. In order to receive special treatments in a hyperbaric chamber involving direct oxygen on his brain, a large piece of his skull was removed and then replaced a few weeks later. Josh experienced a remarkable recovery. He was left with only mild traumatic brain injury residuals. Rich Ruohonen got the case settled for a total of $600,000.
Workers' Comp - Car Crash
Damian was injured in a severe crash while traveling to a client’s house for work. The bills were paid by workers' compensation. He was treated by numerous doctors trying many kinds of therapy and treatments to relieve his chronic neck and back pain. He also had significant issues with depression related to being in daily chronic pain. Damian attended a chronic pain clinic. The liability case settled for $100,000. Damian paid off and purchased the workers' compensation subrogation interest.
The underinsured motorist case was then pursued against Damian’s insurance company, Allstate. Allstate refused to offer one penny of the $50,000 policy limits. Attorney Rich Ruohonen tried this case to a Hennepin County jury, resulting in a verdict of over $188,000. Allstate refused to accept the award and appealed the case. Damian won the appeal and Allstate ended up paying the entire $50,000 policy limits along with an additional $13,000 in costs and interest.
Rear Ended - Car Crash
Susanne was injured in a rear-end collision and sustained a significant shoulder injury that required surgery. Susanne was a union heavy equipment operator and her injuries ended her career.
The insurance carrier claimed that it was not possible for someone to sustain such a substantial injury due to the amount of property damage to the vehicles involved. They refused to make any offer to settle the case.
A lawsuit was started by Partner Chuck Slane and depositions of the doctors involved were taken and, based on the medical evidence, the case was settled for close to $200,000.
Vic and Tracy were injured in a significant motorcycle accident. Each of them broke several bones that required multiple surgeries. When TSR Injury Law and Partner Chuck Slane were initially hired, there was concern that there would not be sufficient insurance coverage available. We undertook an investigation of the case and determined that the young lady that was driving the vehicle that caused the crash had only a driver’s permit and her driving was being supervised by her grandfather. Because of these facts, we were able to double the insurance limits that were available to this young driver. In addition, we learned that the driver resided in a household separate from her grandfather and thus, another policy was accessed.
The claim was resolved when the insurance carriers agreed to double their policy limits and they eventually paid out over 2.8 million dollars to compensate Vic and Tracy.
T-Bone Car Crash
Leslie was a passenger in a vehicle driven by her friend in Iowa. A man failed to yield from a stop sign and caused a t-bone collision at highway speeds. The man died in the collision. Leslie suffered a dislocated hip and acetabular fracture. She was airlifted to the hospital. The doctors popped her hip back into joint by pulling hard on her leg. She required a few months off of work to take it easy and she walked with a limp. Leslie continued to have pain in the hip; x-rays from two years after the accident revealed early arthritic changes in the hip. The defense attorney tried to argue that her pain was from pre-existing back pain and not from the hip injury that was a result of the accident. A previous attorney obtained the $20,000 liability limits from the deceased defendant. Leslie asked attorney Rich Ruohonen to pursue the underinsured motorist case. The insurance company offered $30,000 to resolve the case and the mediator told attorney Ruohonen they should accept the offer and that juries did not award very much money in Iowa.
Leslie and Rich thought this offer was ridiculously low and decided to try the case to a jury. The jury awarded $448,000. This jury verdict was believed to be one of the biggest personal injury verdicts in Des Moines in several years.
Truck vs. Car Crash
Laurie was a passenger in her daughter’s car as they drove down the highway to the airport. A few moments earlier, a garbage truck was driving on the highway and a roller caster fell off of the truck and landed in the middle of the highway. The driver of the garbage truck did not alert authorities to the problem, nor did he remove it from the roadway.
Laurie’s daughter was unable to avoid the caster in the roadway and her vehicle flipped and slid on its roof down the highway. Lori sustained compression fractures to her spine, which gave her considerable trouble and pain.
Laurie’s daughter was also injured and had hired another lawyer to handle her case. That lawyer brought that case to trial and a jury determined that Laurie’s daughter was 100% liable for failing to avoid the caster in the roadway.
We then sued both Laurie’s daughter and the garbage truck company. Attorney Chuck Slane was able to settle the claim against Laurie’s daughter’s insurance company based on the earlier verdict. The case was then submitted to a jury trial to determine the responsibility of the garbage truck company. The jury found, in this second trial, that the garbage truck company was 95% responsible for the crash and awarded significant compensation to Laurie.
Drunk Driver Crash
Catherine was working as a UPS driver, driving on her route. She was attempting to cross a divided highway when she was struck by a drunk driver that was traveling in excess of 85 mph. Catherine was not significantly injured in the crash. However, UPS refused to allow her to continue to drive for them as a result of being in an accident. This is despite the fact that the accident was not her fault.
As a result, Partner Chuck Slane made a claim for the drunk driver to the insurance company that the accident, itself, had caused a substantial loss in Catherine’s ability to work and earn a living, as non-driving jobs at UPS paid considerably less.
Based upon the novel theory, we were able to settle the case for in excess of $100,000.
Rear-ended Car Crash
Jody was rear-ended by an SUV at a high rate of speed. She originally hired a downtown law firm that worked on the case for one year. The at-fault party offered them $7,500 to settle all cases. Jody fired that firm and then hired a small firm who told her the case was worth a lot more. That lawyer sat on the case for nearly five years. Jody had neck surgery and had thousands of dollars worth of unpaid bills and wage loss. The lawyer would not return calls or emails and it became apparent that nothing was getting done.
A friend of Jody's suggested TSR Injury Law and Steve Terry noticed the six years statute of limitations was going to expire in less than one month of our being hired. We served a summons on the defendant, but struck a deal with the insurance company to stay the statute. This allowed us to gather the records (which had not been done for the last six years) and get a final report from the neurosurgeon. Based on our timely effort, a settlement of $475,000 was eventually received and all of Jody’s bills were paid.
Drunk Driver Car Crash
Tiffany was a passenger in a vehicle that was hit head-on by a drunk driver. She sustained a femur fracture and was hospitalized. Steve Terry of TSR Injury Law met with Tiffany at the hospital on Thanksgiving Day in Rochester, Minnesota. (He has family in the area and actually left dinner to see her.) The policy limits were gathered from the drunk driver, as well as the vehicle she was in, totaling $130,000. In addition, evidence was produced that showed that the bar had over-served the drunk driver. Another $25,000 was received from the bar. All of Tiffany’s medical bills were paid by health insurance; however, the bills were negotiated down so that Tiffany could keep the majority of the compensation she was due for her injuries.
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 manufacturers 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 they never should have placed a 19-year-old tire on the car and hidden the dangers from the customer. The case settled during the lawsuit for a very significant, but confidential, sum in the summer of 2017.
Rear End Crash
Jon was doing his work as a tow truck driver and responding to a call. He stopped at a red light and was leaning over to look at his notepad to get an address when he was impacted from behind, sending his body jolting forward. At first, Jon did not feel that he was injured and got out to look at his vehicle and found no damage to the tow truck. The vehicle that hit him was a smaller sedan; it sustained some damage, but it was not significant. The next day, Jon went to urgent care because he was developing some lower back pain. It did not get better over time, so Jon started a course of treatment and eventually underwent RFN (radiofrequency neurotomy) treatments. These treatments relieved the pain by burning a nerve in the lower back that sends the pain signal to the brain. The treatment was successful and Jon received a lot of relief.
State Farm insured the driver of the car that hit Jon. They could not understand how Jon could be hurt in the crash given that there was no damage to his large, flat-bed tow truck. State Farm hired a doctor to evaluate whether Jon was injured. State Farm was surprised when their doctor confirmed that Jon was injured in this crash. State Farm still refused to settle, in fact, they hired a biomechanical engineer and paid him over $20,000; he would testify that it was not possible for Jon to be hurt, as there was not enough force involved. State Farm refused to discuss a reasonable settlement, so the case was submitted to a jury in Hennepin County. The jury determined that Jon was, in fact, injured in the crash and that he did require medical care. State Farm provided significant compensation to help him deal with the injury caused by the crash.
Passenger in a Rolled Car Crash
Jessica, 16, was riding in a car being driven by a friend when the friend rolled the car. Jessica was taken to the ER with immediate complaints of back pain, but it went untreated. Over time, the pain became more severe and an MRI was performed, showing a disc herniation referring down her leg. Because of her age, it was obvious that the injury was from the roll-over crash.
The insurance adjuster from Jessica’s father’s insurance did not agree that the back injury was sustained in the roll-over crash and declined to pay the medical bills. A no-fault arbitration was commenced. The insurance company still denied payment of the bills. A hearing ensued and all of the medical bills were awarded at the hearing and a second claim was made against the insurance company of the vehicle that Jessica’s friend drove. A policy limit settlement of $30,000 was reached. Another claim for underinsured coverage was presented to Jessica’s father’s company and they were forced to pay the policy limits of $100,000, even though Jessica never had surgery.
At a later date, Jessica was involved in another car crash. Her previous non-surgical injury was exacerbated and she required spinal fusion. Even though the crash happened in Florida, Partner Steve Terry was able to secure another policy limit settlement that paid the bills and compensated Jessica for her aggravated back injury.
Head on Car Crash
Rick was stopped in traffic when he was rear-ended by a large, commercial van, which pushed him into the car in front of him. His vehicle then deflected off the vehicle in front of him, sending him into oncoming traffic where he was hit head-on by another vehicle.
Rick suffered a mid-shaft femur fracture which required open reduction internal fixation with an intramedullary rod and nailing. He also suffered from breathing difficulties and was sent home with oxygen for one month following his initial hospital stay, but that condition cleared up. The fracture did not fill-in well and took months to fully heal, requiring extended use of a bone stimulator. His medical bills were approximately $70,000 and he was out of work for about one month, losing approximately $8,000 in wages. Rich Ruohonen got this case settled for $265,000.
Commercial Car Crash
Michael was a driver of a commercial vehicle. Another vehicle swerved into his lane and side-swiped him, which caused him to go off of the road and hit a concrete median. He did not have immediate pain symptoms, but over a period of time his injuries continued to get worse and MRIs of his neck and lower back showed injury to the spine, including herniations, requiring both neck and lower back surgery.
Michael’s original medical bills were covered under workers’ compensation (handled by another law firm). Partner Steve Terry then negotiated an assignment of the workers’ compensation subrogation claim. The total medical and wage loss paid by the workers’ comp carrier was close to $240,000.
The bodily injury claim quickly settled with American Family Insurance for policy limits of $100,000, but the underinsured claim against The Hartford took more time. The Hartford started offering $50,000 and the matter was eventually settled for $400,000. The total amount received by Michael was nearly $750,000 from workers’ comp, bodily injury, and underinsured.
Rear-ended Car Crash
Gina was driving on Highway 94. While heading to work, she was forced to slow down in traffic, and was rear-ended at a high rate of speed. She had immediate neck pain, but decided to go to work. She eventually went to her family doctor who told her to follow up in 30 days because he was convinced the pain would go away. Gina decided to go to a chiropractor who then referred her to an orthopedic surgeon. An MRI showed a disc herniation in her cervical spine, which was causing compression on her nerves. She underwent a neck decompression.
The case was settled for policy limits of $50,000 from AIG and policy limits of $100,000 for underinsured motorist with General Casualty. Partner Steve Terry, who handled the case, encouraged Health Partners to waive the subrogation claim and they complied.
Rolled Car Crash Injury
Yong called TSR Injury Law approximately seven months after a car crash. The car she was in rolled, and her arm was fractured in two places. Yong was told the final offer for her injuries would be $10,000. After hiring Partner Steve Terry and TSR Injury Law, the correct medical documentation was presented to American Family and the case was settled for policy limits of $30,000.
Drunk Driver Head-on Crash
Mary was on her way to work when she was struck head-on by a vehicle that crossed the center line. The vehicle was owned by a car dealership, and one of their employees was driving drunk. Mary sustained injuries to her hand and was unconscious at the scene. She then developed symptoms of memory loss and strange behavior. She was diagnosed with a TBI, traumatic brain injury. She suffered with depression and the loss of the ability to carry on her cleaning business.
The insurance carrier disputed the brain injury, but after several medical exams and depositions, they finally conceded. Steve Terry got the case settled for $217,866.65.
Slip and Fall Injury
Jack fell off of a stairway when leaving a customer’s home. There was no guardrail to protect him from falling off the stairway platform. He suffered a fractured talus. This injury took months to heal. He suffered through intense pain and fracture blisters. American Family offered only $80,000, arguing Jack would be found to be largely at fault for his fall. Attorney Rich Ruohonen and Jack refused this offer. A Hennepin County jury returned a verdict of over $156,000 with only a 10% finding of fault on Jack.
Joe was seriously burned in a workplace accident while he was installing a loading dock door. Joe had hired a lawyer from a different law firm who did not do much work on the case. After waiting a long time to get the case settled, Joe fired his former lawyer and hired the law firm of TSR Injury Law to file a third party liability claim. Upon firing the former lawyer, Joe learned for the first time that the insurance company had made an offer to settle his case in the amount of $25,000.
When Partner Chuck Slane took over the case, they had to recreate the file and investigate the accident several years after it had taken place. During the course of that investigation, it was discovered that the defendant had violated numerous OSHA rules which led to Joe’s injuries. The insurance company raised their offer to $100,000. That offer was rejected and the case was tried to a jury which found the Defendant 100% responsible for the accident and gave a verdict in the amount of $1.9 million.
Garbage Truck Hits Pedestrian in Wheelchair
Kevin was a 36-year-old man whose wheelchair was struck in a crosswalk by a garbage truck as the man tried to cross a busy road. He used a motorized chair due to pre-existing rheumatoid arthritis. The crash resulted in a hip fracture that required surgery and caused the man to lose additional function. Partner Rich Ruohonen tried the case to a jury in Ramsey County and resulted in a $1,536,921 verdict.
On the Job Injury
Don was a contractor. He was in the process of remodeling a client’s house in the middle of winter in January. The house in question had a gutter downspout that drained down the middle of the driveway. This was an unseasonably warm winter. Snow melted from the roof of the house, drained down the gutter and down the driveway. At night, this small stream of water would refreeze, leaving a clear thin sheet of ice down the driveway. The homeowners were aware that this problem existed. There was no evidence of sanding or salting in the driveway. Early one morning, Don was walking to his van to get some tools and he slipped and fell on the ice, his leg twisting under him. This fall resulted in a tibia fibula fracture requiring surgery to place screws and a rod in his leg. Don just wanted his medical bills of $25,000 paid. He hired an attorney because the insurance company would not pay his medical bills. After substantial litigation, the insurance company only offered $15,000. Attorney Rich Ruohonen tried this case to a jury. A verdict of $92,500 was obtained for Don.
Rear-end Car Crash
Toni was injured in a rear-end collision. She was driving on the freeway when she encountered a vehicle stopped in her lane of travel. She was able to come to a full stop, but was then rear-ended by the vehicle behind her.
Toni had significant injuries that required major back surgery. There was a concern that there was not enough insurance coverage available to compensate for what she had gone through.
Our investigation revealed that the vehicle stopped on the highway had run out of gas. However, it was the second time that this lady had run out of gas that morning. She had just passed the highway exit near the gas station and was attempting to go further knowing she was about to run out of gas a second time. Based upon these facts, Partner Chuck Slane was able to access a second policy of insurance and resolve the claims for $187,500.
Autumn was a passenger on her fiancé’s motorcycle when they were struck by a vehicle making a left turn. Autumn sustained significant brain injuries and there was concern that there was inadequate insurance coverage.
Our investigation revealed that not only was the left-turning vehicle at fault, but the motorcycle driver was also driving above the speed limit and that he could have avoided the crash had he been driving at a proper speed.
Partner Chuck Slane made claims against the insurance companies for both the motorcycle and the left-turning vehicle, and significant compensation was received for Autumn.
Drunk Driver Crash - TBI
Annie was a passenger in a vehicle driven by a young man who had been drinking. He lost control of his car, rolled the vehicle, and Annie was thrown from it. She sustained significant brain and spinal cord injuries and will never be the same.
Our investigation revealed that the young man driving the vehicle had obtained a bottle of alcohol from his friend’s father. The father knew that the driver was underage and should not be drinking alcohol, but knowingly provided alcohol to a minor.
As a result, we were able to access not only the automobile insurance, but also the homeowners’ insurance for the father who provided the alcohol. When the money was received, Attorney Chuck Slane negotiated with the Veterans Administration, who had paid for many of Annie’s medical bills, and they agreed not to pursue collection out of the settlement monies.
The settlement monies were then placed in a special needs trust so that they could be available to provide things for Annie that are not covered by her medical plan through the State of Minnesota. No amount of compensation would ever be adequate for the injuries that Annie sustained, but we were able to get all money that was available, shelter the money, and put it to the best use possible.
High Speed Chase Ends with a Car Crash
Denise was a passenger in a vehicle when the vehicle was hit by a man trying to elude the police after they attempted to pull him over for a traffic infraction. Instead of pulling over, the defendant initiated a high speed chase and struck the vehicle Denise was riding in. Denise sustained a brain injury that caused her to fall into a coma.
Denise’s mother originally hired a different law firm, but the law firm wouldn’t even send a lawyer out to meet with the family. One of the staff members did try to sign up the case, but Denise’s mother determined she wanted someone that would be a little more hands-on and aggressive. Partner Steve Terry was hired and our investigation quickly revealed there were numerous policies that would come into effect.
The type of injury was not in dispute. The question was how many insurance policies would assist Denise in her recovery. We received $100,000 from the owner of the vehicle, with $50,000 coming from the driver’s personal coverage. We received $50,000 for underinsured, as well as $18,389.25 in PIP benefits and $18,000 in wage loss benefits. Medical assistance paid for all of Denise’s medical bills and, in fact, still pays for the bills. The total amount of settlement was $236,389. This amount was put into a special needs trust so that Denise could continue to receive State of Minnesota medical benefits as well as social security benefits. In addition, a special trustee was appointed that allows her mother to receive money for Denise’s daily needs.
A 13-year-old boy from St. Paul was riding an SUV when one 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.
Rachel was driving to work and was almost there when she stopped in a line of traffic at a red light. Out in the middle of the intersection two cars crashed into each other. One of those cars came careening toward Rachel. There was no place for her to go. That car smashed into the left rear of Rachel’s car and spun her around. Rachel was looking to the left watching that car coming at her. At impact her head was whipped from side to side and she struck her head on the side window.
Later Rachel called her insurance company, American Family. They talked about the crash and the fact that Rachel’s neck was tightening up and that she was going to see her chiropractor. She hoped she would not need much treatment. Rachel told American Family that she had some neck and shoulder pain before the accident, but it was really no big deal. In fact, she had an MRI scan done years ago that showed no significant injury to her neck.
Rachel received treatment from her chiropractor, but her pain did not go away. The pain started traveling down her arm and would wake her up at night. Rachel saw a medical doctor and an MRI scan was ordered. This test revealed a herniated disc pushing on Rachel’s spine. The doctors were recommending that she get epidural steroid injections.
Rachel again talked with American Family and told them what was going on. American Family asked her to see one of their doctors for what is called an “adverse medical examination.” That doctor found that the injury was caused by the crash and the treatment to date had been reasonable, but that Rachel would not need any further treatment.
Several months later when the epidural steroid injection wore off, Rachel’s arm pain started to return. Her doctors recommended that she obtain repeat injections, but American Family refused to make payment. Rachel hired TSR Injury Law and an Arbitration proceeding was commenced. After the hearing, the Arbitrator determined that American Family needed to pay the bills for all of the treatment that she had had so far.
Unfortunately, Rachel’s condition did not improve and the pain in her arm continued. She decided to undergo a cervical fusion surgery to fix her neck. The bills for that surgery were submitted to American Family and they were processed and paid. Then something strange happened.
American Family cancelled the check and took back the payment that they had already made. Then American Family asked Rachel to see a second doctor of their choosing for another “adverse exam.” They claimed that this doctor was an expert in cervical fusion surgeries and could give them an opinion as to whether the surgery was related to the accident.
That second doctor gave American Family the opinion that the surgery was not related to the accident and American Family refused to pay. However, American Family did not tell this second doctor that Rachel had had an MRI scan of her accident before the crash which did not reveal an injury, and when that MRI scan was compared to the MRI scan taken after the crash, it was clear that there was a new herniated disc caused by the crash. It was also discovered that the doctor selected by American Family had never performed a cervical fusion surgery in his career.
TSR Injury Law sued American Family for failing to keep their promises to pay for medical expenses and other human losses. American Family agreed to settle this matter for the amount of $175,000, which was more than the insurance coverage that had been purchased by Rachel. TSR Injury Law had asked the Court to allow a claim for American Family’s failure to use good faith in claims handling and the Court allowed the claim to proceed — which is why American Family agreed to pay more than their policy limits to settle this matter.
Jordan was only six when he was severely injured in an elevator incident. He and some friends were going up to the sixth floor of a building to visit another friend. The elevator malfunctioned and got stuck in between floors. Jordan and his friends pried the doors open and tried to climb out onto the floor. Unfortunately, Jordan was unable to do this and fell three stories down the elevator shaft. Jordan suffered a fractured skull, and had a documented brain injury. His mother had to take one year off from work to help care for Jordan, but through the good work of Hennepin County Medical Center, Jordan was able to go back to school, regaining 97% of his mental functioning and most of his physical functioning.
Jordan’s case took eight years to wrap up, mainly because it is hard to document a brain injury for a child. Jordan had prior Attention Deficit Disorder issues and the insurance company argued that his current symptomology was caused by the ADD and not the fall. Testimony from numerous HCMC doctors supported a brain injury and a settlement was achieved of approximately $350,000. Because Jordan was a minor at the time of settlement, Partner Steve Terry created a qualified assignment annuity that allowed Jordan to receive smaller amounts of payments from age 18 to 30. In addition, Jordan’s mother was compensated for the time she missed from work and for all of her out-of-pocket medical expenses. After the annuity was set up, the $350,000 settlement had a projected value of approximately $850,000 by the time it paid out.
T-boned Car Crash
Abdusalam was from New York and moved to Minnesota. He had insurance on his vehicle through Progressive Insurance Co. His policy stated that it would not cover any accidents that happened outside of the state of New York.
Abdusalam was driving in downtown Minneapolis when another vehicle ran a red light at high speed and t-boned his car. The vehicle then fled the scene of the crash and was never found. As a result of the crash, Abdusalam suffered injuries to his neck and back and incurred nearly $13,000 in medical bills. When the medical bills were submitted to Progressive for payment under Minnesota No-Fault, they refused to pay. Despite the fact that the insurance company is well-known and writes policies all over the country, they claimed that because their subsidiary did not write policies in Minnesota, they did not have to comply with Minnesota law.
It became necessary for Abdusalam to begin a lawsuit to force the insurance company to pay for his medical bills. Attorney Michael Courtney handled the case. The lawsuit resulted in the insurance company paying for the medical bills, as well as over $3,500 as a penalty for denying Abdusalam’s claim.
Drunk Driver Car Crash
Arthur, father of six, was on his way to work at five in the morning. A drunk driver swerved into Arthur’s lane and was going to hit him head-on. Arthur took evasive action and swerved to the left. The drunk driver then swerved back and crashed into him head-on. Arthur sustained severe injuries to his leg and had several hundred thousand dollars worth of medical bills. Unfortunately, the drunk driver had no insurance, so we were forced to make a claim for policy limits against Arthur’s own policy.
We were quickly able to secure the $100,000 limit for his injuries, but Arthur had an ERISA health insurance policy with language guaranteeing all of the money was to be repaid to the plan before Arthur would be compensated. Through diligent negotiation by Partner Steve Terry, we got Arthur’s health insurance to walk away with zero compensation, enabling Arthur to receive all the compensation he deserved for his injuries. TSR Injury Law also made sure all future bills would be covered by the health insurance company.
Rear Ended Car Crash
Dawn was stopped in rush hour traffic on Interstate 35 near downtown Minneapolis. The vehicle directly behind her was slowing to a stop when another vehicle rear-ended him at 45 miles per hour, propelling that car into Dawn. Dawn’s car was pushed forward 5 to 10 feet into the car in front of her. She sustained neck and back injuries in the crash. American Family offered $7,500 to settle the case. Dawn would have accepted $9,000, but American Family refused to pay.
Attorney Michael Courtney took this case to trial, where the jury awarded her over $29,000. In addition, American Family will also be forced to pay an additional $14,000, twice the amount that it cost Dawn to go to trial, as a penalty.
Soft Tissue Injuries Car Crash
April sustained soft tissue injuries in a car collision in which she was rear-ended. There was not much damage to her car, so the insurance company did not take her injuries seriously. Although she had medical bills in excess of $10,000, the insurance company was only willing to offer $9,500. The insurance company only had a minimum policy limit of $30,000.
The case was submitted to a jury. After a 3-day trial led by Partner Chuck Slane, the jury rendered a verdict of over $90,000. We then sued the insurance company for their bad faith decision in failing to settle the case and eventually received three times the amount of insurance coverage that was originally available.
Rear End Car Crash
Lori was injured in a simple rear-end car accident and she had an injury to the facet joints in her neck. The person that caused the accident had a minimum limit insurance policy of $30,000. They refused to make payment of that policy limit despite the fact that Lori would need significant medical care in the future.
Lori and Attorney Chuck Slane refused to accept payment of less than the policy limit and the case was submitted to trial in front of a jury. The jury returned a verdict of $128,000.
We then submitted a claim to Lori’s own personal insurance carrier and received payment in the amount of $80,000 and an assignment of their right to be paid back from the person who caused the accident. We then took that agreement and got the insurance company for the woman who caused the accident to pay the full amount of the judgment: $128,000. As a result, the minimum policy limit was transformed into $128,000 in coverage. Lori was also able to collect an additional $80,000 in coverage from her own insurance company.
Surgery Gone Wrong
Kristine visited her doctor with pain in her lower abdomen. She was diagnosed with gall stones and needed to have her gall bladder removed by a doctor in Hastings, Minnesota. The doctor negligently cut the duct traveling to the right lobe of the liver, causing a liver injury. After several weeks of intense abdominal pain and sickness, Kristine saw a specialist who determined a mistake was made. She required removal of the right half of her liver, a surgery known as a right hepatic lobectomy. Fortunately, the liver is an organ that can regenerate itself. Her future damages were mostly related to requiring ongoing liver function tests and a scar from the surgery. No offer was ever made by the negligent doctor. Attorney Rich Ruohonen tried this case to a Dakota County jury resulting in over $100,000 and a total payment after costs, interest, and expenses included of over $140,000.
Rhonda was making a home visit for her job when she was attacked by a pit bull. As the pit bull jumped at her, she put her arm up to prevent the dog from biting her face. The pit bull bit her wrist, tearing it open and causing minor nerve damage. The insurance company only offered $15,000 to settle the case. The judge granted a motion for punitive damages because the pit bull was known to be dangerous and had been involved in other attacks. The case was tried to a jury by Partner Rich Ruohonen and an award of approximately $48,000 was rendered by the jury. The case settled prior to the punitive damages phase of the trial for approximately $60,000.
Semi Truck vs. Pedestrian
As Bruce stood by the road after being hit by a woman who had lost control of her vehicle, he was run over by a semi-truck. He sustained a number of fractures and internal injuries, including a severely broken and dislocated ankle. While he did experience a good recovery from his injuries under the circumstances, he continued to experience significant leg and ankle pain, which disturbed his gait. Attorney Rich Ruohonen was able to settle the case for a total of $1,700,000.
Recreational Vehicle Crash
Rich suffered a below-the-knee amputation of his left leg following a recreational vehicle crash caused by a defective control mechanism. Partner Rich Ruohonen litigated this case extensively for several months. The case settled for $3,750,000.
Motorcycle Accident Lawyer
Partner Rich Ruohonen represented a husband and wife who were injured in a motorcycle accident when an uninsured motorist turned in front of them causing their motorcycle to collide with the motor vehicle. Both suffered significant leg fractures. They both received $100,000, the full amount of the uninsured motorist's limits under their policy of insurance on the motorcycle.
As a pedestrian attempting to cross the street, Patsy was injured. The police report indicated that Patsy was significantly intoxicated and jay-walked in front of the vehicle that hit her. It looked to be a very difficult case.
Partner Chuck Slane worked on this case for TSR Injury Law and our investigation revealed that the crash had actually been witnessed by a Minneapolis police officer. The officer was on patrol in the area and the details that he observed did not end up in the final police report. He observed that although Patsy was intoxicated, she was in the cross walk with the walk signal at the time that she was struck. In fact, this was confirmed: she dropped the can of soda that she was carrying at the point of impact and it was still located within the cross walk.
When this additional investigation was presented, the case was resolved for $118,000.
Traumatic Brain Injury
An 87-year-old woman fell in front of her senior citizen high-rise due to ice on the front walkway. She fell backward striking her head, causing a major traumatic brain injury. There was large patch of ice on the front walkway, which was not sanded or salted. Susan was unable to return to her independent living situation. She also had signs of dementia and other problems, which the insurance company argued were pre-existing and age-related rather than from the fall. Attorney Rich Ruohonen was able to settle the case for $475,000.
Fatal Car Crash
Tasha was killed as a passenger in her husband’s vehicle. Her husband had been drinking at a bar, picked Tasha up, and proceeded to run off the road into the side of a hill. Tasha was killed instantly.
What makes the case unique is that Tasha’s husband hired his own lawyer and tried to insert himself as a trustee to bring a claim against himself to receive compensation for his wife’s death. Tasha’s mother hired Attorney Steve Terry and TSR Injury Law and a petition was filed to seek a different trustee. The defendant then decided he wanted to put his father in as the trustee instead of himself, since it was a direct conflict of interest, but the judge saw through this attempt and selected the trustee that Tasha’s mother had chosen.
Policy limits of $100,000 were secured, but once again, the husband tried to stick his hand out as an “heir” and another contentious hearing had to be won before he understood that not only was he going to jail, but he would not receive compensation for killing his wife. The rest of his family was very grateful for the end result.