Posted on Dec 15, 2005
Girl hurt in wreck gets jury awardBy JOE LAMBEThe Kansas City StarA Jackson County jury has awarded $25 million to a Eudora, Kan., girl who suffered brain damage in an accident at the Grandview Triangle.
The jury verdict Friday against URS Corp. is the second-largest in Jackson County this year, according to the Greater Kansas City Jury Verdict Service. The environmental engineering company is based in San Francisco and has a branch in Overland Park.
There was no dispute that Anna Berthelsen, now 11, was severely injured when a company pickup truck hauling a loaded trailer smashed into the back of her family’s minivan on June 19, 2002.
Anna, then 7, and her parents, Eric and Roshel Berthelsen, were eastbound on Interstate 435 and stopped for construction delays as they were about to enter U.S. 71 on their way to a family vacation in Branson.
The impact from the speeding 14,500-pound truck and trailer crushed the van and pushed it off the road into a concrete culvert, said plaintiff lawyer Grant Davis.
Anna, who was in a seat belt in a rear seat, suffered a severe head injury that left her in a coma for days. She is now partly paralyzed on one side of her body and has permanent brain damage, a medical expert testified.
In the only larger Jackson County verdict this year, jurors in August awarded $26.5 million to five State Farm insurance agents after finding that the company wrongly fired them for criticizing its treatment of clients. A judge quickly reduced that verdict to $20 million, according to the Greater Kansas City Jury Verdict Service.