Minnesota Jury Awards $28M in Crash That Left Teen Paralyzed

February 7, 2017

A jury has awarded more than $28 million to a woman paralyzed in a crash with school bus in northern Minnesota, but it remains to be seen whether she’ll ever receive the entire award.

Paige Anderson was 16 years old when the bus from the Ely School District crashed into a car in which she was a passenger in Coleraine. The 2009 crash left Anderson a quadriplegic. Another passenger, Emmy Foss of Bovey, died in the accident.

The Star Tribune reports jurors in Itasca County recently assigned 10 percent fault to the bus driver and the rest to the teen driving the car. Stephanie Ball, an attorney representing Anderson, said both drivers are insured against such claims, but the coverage is substantially less than the verdict.

Awards this large are very rare in greater Minnesota, but this was a unique and heartbreaking case,” Ball said, adding that the jurors’ verdict “recognizes the tragic injuries suffered by a young woman whose life was just getting started.”

The amount the jury decided upon is meant to cover past and future medical expenses, pain, suffering, disability, disfigurement, emotional distress and loss of earning capacity, Ball said.

Lawyers representing the bus driver, the school district and the car’s driver weren’t immediately available to comment Thursday about the verdict.

They could appeal the verdict.

Ball said a State Patrol reconstruction of the crash found both drivers lacked sufficient attention to the road. The car driving westbound pulled out in front of the bus onto Hwy. 169. Ball said the patrol also cited excessive bus speed as another contributing factor.

The bus broadsided the car and dragged it about 100 feet before coming to a stop. The teen driving the car survived her injuries, and the bus driver was slightly hurt.

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