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Avid Athlete Receives Winning Verdict

Posted on Monday, March 26th, 2018

Nothing was more exciting to Sequana Beale than being busy, social and challenging herself. “I loved to play tennis, cycle, run, boot camp, scuba diving, fishing, hunting, camping, entertaining,” said Sequana. “I even participated in Registers Annual Great Bike Ride Across Iowa, it’s the oldest bike tour in America.” Lacing up and hitting the road is also how she takes care of her mental health. Her husband has chronic lymphocytic leukemia, diabetes and glaucoma and the worrying and caregiving takes its toll.

But on August 31st of 2013, while driving her pick-up truck she was violently rear-ended by the driver of a 2001 Toyota Camry, who was driving too close and too fast for road conditions. The force of the impact sent the Camry sliding underneath the bed of Sequana’s truck. Without the bumper to absorb the force of the crash, Sequana suffered serious and permanent injuries in the collision. Unfortunately, with no surgical option she has a possible lifetime of pain management treatment.

IMPACT OF CRASH

But Sequana is a fighter and determined she would continue to care of her husband and stay competitive in her many sports. But reality sunk in soon enough. Road trips with friends that included a race and sightseeing in a new city, turned into agonizing pain that left her on pain medications and ice packs. Her performance at work also suffered. Always a star employee, she was put on probation and a coaching plan. “After I experienced the crash, I was in denial about the damage and long-term effects it would have on my body,” said Sequana. “As my physical condition progressively worsened my mental and emotional welfare worsened as well.” Sequana’s pain became so severe she had to turn to her children to help with the caregiving her husband required.

SHE NEEDED A FIGHTER

The driver that struck Sequana was an underinsured motorist, so Sequana turned to her own insurance company, State Farm, for coverage of her damages under her underinsured motorist policy. Unfortunately, State Farm only offered $5,000. Sequana was devastated, that would never be enough for her pain treatment and her husband’s care. Her brother had told her years ago if she ever needed help to call the Coker Law Firm. Coker Law, partner Dan Iracki knew from the start she needed a law firm as tough as she was. “Sequana Beale is a fighter,” said Iracki. “She fought through her injuries, she fought through unreasonable offers by her own insurance company and she allowed us to fight for her in trial. I am proud to have represented her during this journey.”

It turned out to be quite a fight. State Farm claimed that since Sequana’s truck was not crushed by the impact and that she was still competing, meant the damages weren’t that bad and her injuries not severe. Her friends testified how much she suffered while trying to stay active and how she was in constant physical therapy. Coker Law brought in experts to show the jury how much force impacted Sequana directly since the bumper was of little help in absorbing the crash.

SEQUANA AWARDED $3,090,717 (verdicts and awards)

The jury agreed with Sequana’s claims and awarded her $2,705,000, which included her past and future medical expenses, her pain and suffering as well as helping with the costs to care for her husband. She was also awarded attorneys fees, for a total of $3,090,717. It was a tremendous relief for Sequana. “I’ve never been involved in a jury trial before”, said Sequana. “This experience couldn’t have gone smoother. The team was completely prepared from transportation to and from the court house, visual displays, lunch order coordination, timing of expert witnesses, research of opposing sides expert witness, even making sure I had a pillow for my back.”

Attorneys/staff involved in case: Daniel Iracki, Howard Coker, Janeen Kirch, Joel Harris, Leigh-Anne Morrill

Date of Jury Verdict: November 16, 2017

Amount of Jury Verdict and Additional Awards: $3,090,717