News

Stephanie Ball

Itasca County jury awards $28.6 million to woman paralyzed in a 2009 bus-car crash in Coleraine, Minnesota

An Itasca County jury has awarded $28.6 million to a Marble, Minnesota, woman who was paralyzed when an Ely Public School District bus crashed into the car in which she was a passenger.

Paige Anderson was 16 years old when the October 9, 2009, crash occurred at the intersection of Curley Avenue and Highway 169 in Coleraine, Minnesota. Anderson, now 23, has been a quadriplegic since that day. On January 26, 2017, after a seven-day trial, the jury awarded Anderson $28.572 million in past and future damages.

“Awards this large are very rare in Greater Minnesota, but this was a unique and heartbreaking case,” said attorney Stephanie Ball of Duluth’s Fryberger Law Firm, who represented Anderson. “We had a very attentive and respectful jury whose verdict recognizes the tragic injuries suffered by a young woman whose life was just getting started.”

The jury award included damages for past and future medical expenses, past and future pain, suffering, disability, disfigurement, emotional distress and loss of earning capacity.

A Minnesota State Patrol reconstruction of the crash indicated that inattention on the part of both vehicles’ drivers (the defendants in the case, along with the Ely school district), contributed to the collision. The State Patrol also cited excessive bus speed as another contributing factor. During the crash, the bus dragged the car about 100 feet before both came to rest.

The jury found bus driver Jay Poshak to be 10 percent at fault and Hailey Salo, the then-18-year-old Grand Rapids-area resident who drove the car in which Anderson was paralyzed, to be 90 percent at fault.

Another passenger in the car that day, Emmy Foss of Bovey, Minnesota, died in the crash. One passenger on the bus was slightly injured.

Fryberger, Buchanan, Smith & Frederick, P.A., founded in 1893, is northern Minnesota’s largest law firm.  It has offices in Duluth and St. Paul, Minnesota, and in Superior, Wisconsin.  Its toll-free number is 800-496-6789.  Its web address is fryberger.com.