Back in 2004 Natalie Barnhard was paralyzed as a Cybex weight machine fell on top of her while working as a physical therapy assistant for Amherst Orthopedic Physical Therapy.
Barnhard on Tuesday was awarded $65.9 million verdict, but still has a ways to go.
I actually know Natalie as her and I went to Cheektowaga Central and graduated in 1998. So, when I heard that she was paralyzed the news just left me floored. She was a cheerleader and a track athlete, but was very quiet and kept to herself and friends.
I have actually kept track of her these last couple of years thanks to face book. So, I was very happy for her when I heard the verdict.
Now, I know a lot of people are asking why so much money?
Well as the saying goes time is money and Natalie actually has to spend a ton of time away from her family and friends as she receives treatment for her injury at a spinal cord center down in Atlanta.
How can anyone ever put a price on the time that a person has to spend away from their family. Yes, many other people get separated from their family, but most of the time that is voluntary as we choose to pursue a certain career like the military. However, she has no choice and I do not doubt that she would trade all that money to have the life she had before back.
Her lost wages for the next 25 years alone is over one million dollars as the average per year salary for a licensed physical therapy assistant is $45 thousand per a year. Now, add in her numerous medical expenses and you can easily get to the $65.9 million.
In the end, it goes to show that you never know what tomorrow will bring.