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Multi-million Dollar Settlement Awarded to Southeast Kansas Cras - KOAM TV 7

Multi-million Dollar Settlement Awarded to Southeast Kansas Crash Survivor

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Here's what it's like to be paralyzed.

"Sometimes it's just hard to get out of bed.  It's depressing.  Just hard to cope," says 20-year-old Kara Hansen.

Here's what it's like to still move through life.  Hansen is a survivor.

"It's going to hurt.  It's going to suck sometimes.  But where there's a will, there's a way," says Hansen.

Four years ago, 23-year-old Corbin Hamilton rear-ended then 16-year-old Hansen's renovated Ford Mustang while she was on Highway 69, waiting to turn into her driveway.  The impact forced Hansen's car into another car going the opposite direction.  She broke her neck, and was eventually taken to a hospital in Kansas City where doctors have her only a 15% chance of ever walking again.

"I wasn't really worried about me," says Hansen.  "I was worried about my family.  It wasn't easy.  Hard for them to look at me for a while.  But they coped pretty well."

Late last month, a Cherokee County jury awarded Hansen $38.5 million as compensation for medical care and lost earnings, past and future.  It's unclear though if she will ever get all of that money, since the man who rear-ended her car only had a $25,000 liability limit on his insurance policy.

"Ultimately, it's he who has to deal with his decisions.  I just go with what I got.  He has to live with that, not me," says Hansen.

Hansen wants to spend time with her dad once again to remodel the same Mustang involved in the crash.

"It was a father daughter thing.  It's kind of a sign of strength," says Hansen.

Hansen smiles as she knows she'll always ride in that Mustang as a passenger.  But she'll still be moving as a survivor, while inspiring others.

"Make the best out of what you have," says Hansen.

Hansen has a tattoo that reads "I am not what happened to me, I am what I choose to be."  Hamilton blamed the accident on faulty brakes, among other things.  But the jury ultimately decided he wasn't paying enough attention while driving.  Hansen's attorney is trying all avenues to get the full settlement amount.
 

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