Posted: September 25th, 2013
A woman has won a two-year battle against the State of Texas and her own insurance company to recover compensation for being rear-ended and suffering whiplash injuries.
Brenda Nolen from Young County in Texas was hit from behind by a vehicle driven by a Texas Forest Service employee who had fallen asleep at the wheel when she was returning from a shopping trip in April 2011. The force with which her Dodge pick-up was hit, shoved it onto a garage forecourt, where it crashed into a petrol pump which exploded on impact.
Fortunately passers-by were able to rescue Brenda from her burning vehicle, but she sustained a broken arm, multiple burns and a serious neck injury in the accident which required her to undergo multiple operations over the course of the following year.
Brenda made a claim for being rear-ended against the Forest Service driver´s employers – the State of Texas – to cover to cost of a new vehicle and her medical expenses. However, the State of Texas rejected her claim on the basis that employees of the State Forest Service are immune from responsibility for any injuries or accidents that happen while they are en route to an emergency.
Her own insurance company – State Farm – also declined her claim for compensation for being rear-ended despite Brenda obtaining a statement from the Texas Forest Service employee who had hit her vehicle to confirm that he had fallen asleep at the wheel and was not on his way to an emergency.
Brenda sought legal advice and, with help from a solicitor and the threat of court action, a negotiated settlement was reached with Brenda´s insurers and the State of Texas that will see her recover an undisclosed amount compensation for being rear-ended – enough to purchase a new Dodge pick-up and cover the majority of her medical expenses.