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Settlement Reached in Woman's Lawsuit with State

After about 2.5 years, a Texoma woman says she's finally beginning to wake up from her nightmare.
After about 2.5 years, a Texoma woman says she's finally beginning to wake up from her nightmare.

In January,  we introduced you to Young County resident, Brenda Nolen.

She was in a lawsuit with the state of Texas and her own insurance company, after being rear-ended by a Texas Forest Service employee.

For 51 year-old Brenda Nolen, finding a ride to the grocery store or to work is not such a difficult task anymore, because after 2.5 years, she finally has a ride all her own.

“Happy I got a vehicle sad because I had to take my old dodge to the wrecking yard, there is still not a day I don't think about it, it was a big nightmare April 17, 2011,” she said. 

On that day, Nolen and her '97 Dodge pick-up were rear-ended by a Texas Forest Service employee who was asleep at the wheel and then thrusted her into a gas tank.

“From the loud boom to the screaming and balling for the begging to help to the getting me out of my burning truck I couldn't get out my doors were jammed,” Nolen said.

But that accident Nolen says was only the beginning of her nightmare.

She had to battle a lawsuit against her own insurance company, State Farm, and the State of Texas because of a law that gives them immunity from giving her what she said was rightfully hers.

Under the Homeland Security Act, employees of the State Forest Service are not liable for injuries or accidents caused while en route to an emergency.

“We had an anti-terrorism law that was passed in the wake of September 11th that the state of Texas passed that the state of Texas and State Farm were trying to use this anti-terrorism law to say that Miss Nolen was not entitled to compensation,” said her lawyer Patrick Scott.

Nolen believed she had a case, because she said the driver was not en route to an emergency.

As it turned out, and after months of litigation, both sides agreed to settle. And now, Nolen has all that she really ever wanted, a  car again.

Nolen's settlement did not cover all of her medical expenses.

And, her attorney blames lawmakers in Austin for protecting state officials and not citizens.
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