On January 25, 2014, Makenzie Wethington, then 16-years-old, injured both her liver and kidney, suffered bleeding within her brain and broke her pelvis, lumbar spine, shoulder blade, and numerous ribs. How? Her parachute malfunctioned over Chickasha during a sky-diving incident in Oklahoma. The young woman, a North Texas native, fell over 3,000 feet to the ground.
That weekend, trauma surgeon Dr. Jeffrey Bender, who was unsure of the specifics of the crash, treated Makenzie. Another doctor oversaw her rehabilitation in Dallas, marveling at someone “her size and stature” surviving just a great fall.
Now, in 2017, Makenzie has made groundbreaking news once more. She has won her lawsuit, claiming she had been improperly trained for the jump and parachute. Robert Swainson, who owned the now-shuttered Pegasus Air Sports Center, argued that the young woman panicked and refused to follow instructions.
The Texas teen has won $760,000 for the accident, much of which will go towards her mounting medical debt and rehabilitation. Despite this, the Federal Aviation Administration found no fault with her parachute, nor did they stumble upon any safety violations at the center.
Enduring a personal injury is often traumatic. The pain and emotions welling up from within can quickly overwhelm the most stalwart of people, let alone a 16-year-old girl. Furthermore, the medical costs associated with an accident are typically enough to bankrupt your average person. Many people feel alone and helpless.
First and foremost, seek medical attention for your injuries. Then, once you’re settled, speak with an experienced attorney. You want someone on your side with a thorough understanding of the law, insurance companies, and settlements.