Nate Bjerke is a rarity in the legal world – a real trial lawyer. Nate has tried and won catastrophic personal injury and wrongful death cases all over the country, from Florida to Washington, from California to Vermont. He spent the first 12 years of his career defending some of the biggest companies in the world in product liability cases across the country. He now uses that experience working for injured people in product liability, car crashes, truck crashes and medical malpractice cases.
Since he started representing injured people in 2008, Nate has earned settlements for his clients from corporate giants like Ford Motor Company, Kia Motors, Micheline, and Kawasaki. Here are some examples of results he and his clients have received from Minnesota juries over the past few years:
- In March 2012, Nate and Chuck Slane tried a case in Hennepin County for an injured couple in their sixties who were involved in a head-on car crash that resulted in multiple orthopedic injuries to both and a brain injury to the husband. The insurance company’s best offer before trial was $350,000. The jury returned a net verdict of just over $4.1 million.
- In August 2011, a jury returned a gross verdict in a product liability case of over $425,000 to a woman whose hand was trapped in an after-hours depository at a local bank.
- In August 2011, a jury returned a verdict against Allstate for more than $525,000 to a woman who broke a bone in her back in a motorcycle crash. Allstate’s highest offer before trial was less than $100,000.
- In January 2011, a jury returned a verdict of nearly $300,000 to a man who was rear-ended and permanently injured his neck, resulting in multiple procedures called RFN to kill the nerves in his neck to lessen his pain. Nate took the case over on referral from another firm a month before trial when the insurance company’s highest offer was $40,000.
- In 2010, Nate tried a case for a woman in her mid-‘50s who was t-boned at an intersection when the defendant ran a red light – although the defendant claimed her light was green. Nate’s client broke her knee cap. The insurance company’s highest pre-trial offer was $150,000 and the jury returned a verdict of roughly $850,000.
Nate frequently speaks to groups of personal injury lawyers in Minnesota and across the country on topics concerning product liability, brain injury, wrongful death, serious injury, science and medicine in the courtroom and other trial practice issues. He has been consistently recognized by his peers as a Minnesota Rising Star and Super Lawyer, an honor given to less than 5% of attorneys in the state.
Nate sits on the Board of Governors for the Minnesota Association for Justice where he chairs the Education and Product Liability Committees and serves on the Publications Committee. He frequently writes articles for the Association’s quarterly magazine, including a recent article on preventing defendants’ biomechanics experts from offering junk science testimony in court.
Nate also sits on a committee of Minnesota lawyers and judges to shape jury instructions in product liability cases.
Nate went to college at Hamline University in St. Paul where he was on the Dean’s List and was a two-time all-conference football player. He transferred to the University of St. Thomas where he graduated with honors in 1993. Nate then attended the University of Minnesota Law School and graduated with honors in 1996.
Nate lives with his wife, Tomme, and three daughters, CJ, Avery and Tate in Mounds View. Away from the office, Nate enjoys coaching his daughters’ athletic teams, spending time with his family camping and hiking through the woods of Minnesota and Wisconsin. Nate has finished 13 marathons and is hoping to add to that total.
In January 2013, Nate tried a case in Washington County for a young woman who was rear-ended by a pickup truck on Highway 36. As a result of the crash, Nate’s client underwent a sacro-iliac joint fusion and later suffered from a debilitating condition called Complex Regional Pain Syndrome, or CRPS. After 6 days of trial, the jury returned a verdict of $1.1 million.