Jennifer was born with a passion for writing, and excelled at mathematics even beyond that. These talents blended well into her career as an editor and web and graphic designer, but she lived no sedentary life behind a computer. A natural athlete, Jennifer would go running for an hour a day, and was an avid rock climber. Exceptionally driven, she graduated from high school at the age of 13, and had a heart for the least of these, always looking for creative and charitable ways to minister to those suffering from or considering abortion. It was a personal issue to her, because her own mother’s life was spared from abortion when someone made adoption possible instead.
One hot September day three years ago began unremarkably – a good day for sandals, jeans, and an afternoon drive to the beach. Jennifer was in the passenger seat when she caught sight of a driver swerving into an illegal u-turn ahead, a startling sight on a 55 mph highway. “What is he doing?” she asked. All reason was immediately drowned out in the telltale screech and shatter of automobile crashing. Jennifer’s seatbelt malfunctioned, velocity threw her forward, and her head hit and shattered the windshield. She was knocked out.
Jennifer’s brain was damaged, an injury like a punch to the gut of her identity. In between her vision blacking out and seeing double, simple addition was a struggle to her once mathematical mind – and how could she pursue her writing career when she could hardly read and write without dropping letters and words in a sentence? Even after physical therapy, the vestibular injury still leaves Jennifer unable to stand sometimes, being overcome with dizziness, loss of balance, and recurring migraine pain. Some days have to be spent lying still with her eyes closed.
The medical bills have climbed above $30,000, not counting the cost of the tests, treatment, and therapy Jennifer still needs to make a full recovery. Her health insurance refused to cover such a catastrophic medical crisis, believing the cause of the injury to put the responsibility on automobile insurance, while the at-fault driver’s auto insurance also refused to cover the cost, believing the brain injury to some how not be related to the automobile accident. A neuropsychologist and an eye doctor who specializes in brain injuries ran tests to confirm that Jennifer’s brain damage was indisputably the result of the car accident. Personal Injury Protection (PIP) covered Jennifer’s physical therapy for a year, but that wasn’t nearly enough to cover her full medical expenses, which have grown with added emergency bills since then.
Jennifer’s mother reached out to the driver at fault, who surprisingly happens to be a wealthy and brilliant orthopedic spine surgeon. In a letter she approached him not with anger, but forgiveness and understanding that the wreck was an accident, and she asked if he would be so merciful as to help with the medical bills. Whether incensed or terrified, he never replied, and Jennifer and her mother were warned that they would be sued for harassment if they tried contacting him any further. Another mistake needed to be addressed, however: the automobile manufacturer responsible for the defective seat belts that failed to protect Jennifer.
Enter the world-class lawyer, renowned for handling brain injury cases nationwide. Lawsuits are wielded so effortlessly in the U.S. that Americans are calloused to their meaning. We picture them to mean unfathomable amounts of money for what seems little more than mental anguish, such as Erin Andrews being awarded $55 million by jury for the emotional distress she endured due to a stalker filming her change clothes through a hotel peephole. Surely it should be worthwhile to award Jennifer a few hundred thousand to pay for medical bills and other recovery costs since her ability to pursue a livelihood has been damaged. The lawyer agreed – for awhile.
Sometime after becoming aware that Jennifer had used her talents to write pro-life literature, the lawyer bemoaned that regardless of the injustice and suffering Jennifer was enduring, the jury would decide against her because of her pro-life views. Perhaps concerned more about his record of wins and losses no matter the legitimacy of the case, the lawyer insisted that if he pressed the suit, he would most likely lose to an abortion-rights biased jury, and Jennifer would then owe him upwards of yet another $30,000. He quit working to the best of his ability, allowing the defendant to get away with falsehoods about the accident, and forcing Jennifer to settle for far less than she was owed. He ceased answering questions about the seatbelt lawsuit and allowed the statute of limitations to expire. Can you imagine your livelihood and talents being robbed from you, and no restitution being made available?
Jennifer has hit a dead end, and is turning to her pro-life brethren for help via crowd funding. “My goal is really just to get well — which I need money for,” Jennifer tells me. “And to pay off the medical debt I’ve already accrued. To get back on my feet.”
She wants people to know that “now, here in America — standing for the lives of the unborn doesn’t just cost minor things like the opinion of friends, it can cost the possibility of health or remaining severely injured, a person’s livelihood, justice or injustice in a court of law (if what the lawyer said is right about the jury) or when seeking help or legal representation (if what he said was wrong),” which the lawyer’s negligence implies.
“And in light of that, I don’t want to sound critical, but I feel like there’s a crucial need for us to take care of each other, not just the unborn,” observes Jennifer, who has now experienced firsthand how fragile and fleeting life can be at any stage of growth. “It’s like the lawyer let me know, ‘because you stood for protecting and helping the unborn, when this guy almost killed you, you will receive no protection or help.’ If we stand for this issue, I’ve discovered, the world is not going to take care of us, it can reject and double the injustice, so for those standing who get persecuted for it, I feel like awareness needs to be raised that we need to step in when the world steps out, and help each other so we can continue to stand (as I haven’t been able to do hardly any pro-life work since the accident).”
Jennifer’s mother has also been unable to work consistently during this turmoiled season of life, and has used most of her retirement savings towards caring for Jennifer. They may lose their home. Crowdfunding has become an outlet of hope for this beleaguered family.
Please keep Jennifer and her loved ones in your prayers, and consider making a donation at her YouCaring page.