A car accident case involving a major blizzard, nine defendants and a legal battle over jurisdiction was resolved earlier this month for a total of $2,145,000.
"It took a lot of work to find out what happened in this accident and what we could do," said attorney Michael Kosner of The Deratany Firm in Chicago. "But our client really suffered, and now has a chance to build a better life."
During a blizzard in January 2015, 20-year-old Nadja Brewer was driving down I-80 in Indiana on her way to Chicago. The road was slippery and visibility was poor. Brewer saw a massive pileup directly in front of her, was unable to stop due to the conditions, and briefly lost consciousness when her car became wedged under a tractor-trailer.
Brewer was able to escape her damaged vehicle and get to the side of the road. But moments later, she was struck by a truck swerving to avoid the pileup. She was knocked unconscious and suffered a severe injury: Her pelvis was cut in half.
Because of the poor conditions, it took emergency medical personnel nearly an hour to get to the scene, and Brewer developed frostbite on her hands. In the ambulance, her heart stopped, but EMTs were able to revive her. At the hospital, doctors put her into a medically induced coma and feared she may lose her frostbitten hands.
But Brewer kept her hands and, amazingly, made a full recovery.
Brewer retained attorney Kosner and his team at The Deratany Firm to find out what had actually happened to her. A lengthy investigation eventually identified nine trucking companies that bore some responsibility for the series of crashes.
"We had to pore over every single accident report from I-80 in Indiana that day," said Kosner. "The truck accident that originally caused the pileup wasn't even mentioned in the police report we had from Nadja's crash, possibly because none of the cars in the pileup actually made contact with those two trucks. That ended up being a big part of her recovery."
The firm also successfully fought a yearlong battle to keep the case in Chicago, Brewer's hometown and the venue that her attorney believed would give her the best possible outcome. "We looked at the trucking companies, where the cargo was going, where the contracts originated," Kosner explained. "The evidence said that this crash was more strongly connected to Illinois even though it physically happened in Indiana."
Brewer eventually received settlements from each of the nine trucking companies for a total of $2.145 million. The last defendant settled earlier this month for $1.2 million.
She is now back to work and has bought a house for herself and her son.
"Many cases are resolved with a financial recovery, but it's not always a happy ending," Kosner said. "This was a happy ending."