The life of two year old Jordan Russell was changed forever in a single moment on August 4, 2009. As a result of that "moment", Jordan is paralyzed from the waist down. Her mother and her mother's companion have severe injuries, while her unborn brother, 3 pound Adyn, is dead, even before his birth. Efforts to save Adyn, by premature delivery, failed.
This tragic family was the victim of possibly alcohol-impaired driver, Oran John Spencer. Spencer was traveling on Oklahoma 82, ran off the road, hit a culvert, and over-corrected into the opposite lane of travel, where he struck the family's car, head-on. Blood alcohol tests are incomplete as of this writing.
Jordan Russell can't walk because the Aug. 4 crash "nearly ripped her spinal cord in half". Her mother, Vanessa Sunday, and companion, Michael Foutch, were severely injured. They do not remember the crash; they only remember waking up in the hospital, two days later, the day Adyn died. Vanessa, seven months' pregnant at the time of the incident, suffered a broken hip socket, and fractures of her arm, ankle and ribs. She also suffered a punctured lung, a ruptured spleen and underwent an emergency C-section in an attempt to save the baby. It is unclear whether the baby would have survived but for the trauma, but family members opine that he might have.
"I got to hold him a little while before they took him off the ventilator while he was still alive," Vanessa said. "That was the hardest thing I could ever do."
Michael suffered a head injury, a broken jaw, arm, pelvis and toe. He also suffered severe cartilage damage in his knee; the pain "wakes him in the middle of the night".
The crash and its tragic aftermath are enough for any family to have to endure, but there is much more to the story. It seems that there is a dispute between two insurance companies, arguing over responsibility. The family's medical expenses are approaching seven figures and the vehicle owner's insurance company is arguing with the driver's carrier. How long will this coverage dispute go on while this family struggles both physically and financially? Who knows?
I recently wrote in criticism of a new round of Oklahoma tort reform. I opined that tort reform is the first corporate bail-out. It is a synonym for "welfare" for billion dollar insurance companies and a license to further victimize victims. While the family is trying to put the pieces of their lives back together, they are being victimized again, financially, by the insurance dispute. The family has lost its home, is living with Michael's parents (thankfully, the home is handicapped accessible) and the insurance companies can't come together and resolve their differences. How about both of them paying the limits of their respective policies, which will surely be inadequate to compensate this family for its tragic loss? Oklahoma is not the only state in the union whose citizens' rights have been sacrificed or repressed to the benefit of rich and powerful insurance companies; it is a sad, recent addition.
The tort reform crowd (US Chamber and Insurance lobby) has now pounced on the health care reform debate to push their evil anti-citizen agenda. They have engaged in a misleading, but successful, campaign to demonize attorneys and victims; they cry about "lawsuit abuse" and "jackpot justice". Where is the "jackpot" or "abuse" in this case? Where is simple "justice" for this family? "Trial lawyers" are bad; just ask an insurance adjuster, as he offers you pennies on the dollar for your valuable case. Lawyers are easy targets; everybody hates lawyers, right? That is, until the 'haters' become 'victims'; until that "single moment" happens to one of them.
Lawsuit Financial provides financial support to people involved in personal injury litigation. Our lawsuit funding company attempts to assist in the achievement of justice for injury victims by providing the financial help they need now so that they do not have to compromise a valuable case for pennies on the dollar, while the insurance company deliberately delays or denies payment. Repayment of our lawsuit funding advances are completely contingent upon the outcome of the litigation; if the plaintiff lose the case, repayment of the legal funding is excused. We provide auto accident lawsuit funding as well as lawsuit funding for many other types of personal injury cases. Interested plaintiffs can apply for litigation funding from Lawsuit Financial by calling 1-877-377-SUIT (7848) or visiting us on the web at www.lawsuitfinancial.com.
While these insurance companies "delay, deny, confuse and refuse", a fund has been set up for the family at Tulsa Teachers Credit Union. You may send your tax-deductible checks to:
Tulsa Teachers Credit Union
Michael Foutch Fund
3720 E. 31st, Tulsa, OK 74135-1507.
Or you can Call TTCU at (918) 749-TTCU (8828) or toll-free at (800) 234- TTCU (8828) for more information.