After a Fargo woman was severely injured in a car accident, her medical bills piled up.
She’s now hoping to clear legal roadblocks for others.
On July 13, Amanda Mitchell’s whole world was turned upside down.
“I actually don’t remember the day of the accident,” Mitchell said.
Leaving work, she was struck by a McKenzie County Sheriff’s Deputy responding to an unrelated 911 call.
“He was going at over 60 mph, so with the hilliness and with at how fast he was going, I had a green light and he had a red light, and I guess from footage that was seen and from witnesses there was no way that I would have seen him coming,” Mitchell said.
Mitchell had to be extricated from her car and was later airlifted to Trinity Health in Minot.
“They had to intubate me, so put in a tube for breathing, and I was placed on a vent,” she said.
Mitchell went through multiple surgeries, spent weeks in the hospital and was later told she was disabled due to a traumatic brain injury.
“I remember after getting home how hard things were, the simple task of cooking and cleaning,” Mitchell said.
But she’s now faced with an even bigger hurdle.
“We’re still fighting to see if we can get healthcare bills reduced for costs and things like that,” she said.
And they’re still fighting. A North Dakota bill passed in 1977 limits her damage claims to $250,000 — which she feels isn’t enough.
“Traumatic brain injuries require sometimes two-three years of medical care,” she said.
She says for speech therapy alone is around $7,000 per month.
So, she’s since taken her concerns to state legislator Brandy Pyle in hopes to increase capped damages for not only herself but for others too.
“I think we have a very good chance for this one to be updated. It’s definitely in need of it when it’s 43 years old,” Pyle said.
A new bill being proposed would see a slight increase of $250,000 per person up to $375,000 and $1 million per incident up to $1.5 million.
“If it passes right now in the bill the effective date is July 1st, 2022, so that will give the political subdivisions some time to budget for the new amount if it passes,” Pyle said.
Mitchell says she still doesn’t believe the new suggested amount is enough.
“There’s a high chance that it won’t cover myself but I’d be making positive changes for other people,” Mitchell said.
And one less hurdle they’d have to fear.
Mitchell says there’s still a long list of other changes she’s pushing for as well.