But that’s not what happened. The insurer was not notified and did not defend Northern, such as by filing a responsive pleading to the suit. When a defendant ignores its obligations under the law, a court is free to decide the legal dispute in favor of the other side. That action, in the form of a default judgment, was entered against Northern. With Northern’s liability for Russell’s injuries no longer an issue, Russell’s attorney moved forward by having a trial in late 2019 to determine damages.
Russell suffered a brain injury, back injuries, nerve damage and a broken wrist, rib and pelvis. He needs long-term medical, rehabilitative and mental health care and cannot work or maintain his home and property, according to the court, which awarded Russell $5 million, plus $2.5 million in interest and the possibility of additional interest until he’s paid.
Russell, an Air Force veteran who served