Below is our 2020 Dirk Derrick Car & Truck Accident Injury Scholarship winner Madison Gervasi's story:

Hi, I’m Madison Gervasi, a now college sophomore at Coastal Carolina University. In April of 2018, I was a junior in high school when my life changed forever. It was just two days before I was supposed to go to prom. I had just finished getting my nails done. I was on my way to meet up with friends for our high school soccer game until the driver’s side of my car was T-boned by a truck at over 50 mph. My vehicle was pushed into a tree and became engulfed in flames. I was unconscious and trapped inside.

By the grace of God, a good Samaritan that lived down the street had heard the crash and came rushing to the scene and was able to tear my driver’s door open. They thought I was dead while they airlifted me to the hospital. I suffered massive and extensive injuries from this accident, both physical and mental. I had double punctured & collapsed lungs along with serious internal bleeding. I was put on life support and rushed into surgery. I had a seizure on the operating table but miraculously I held on. I was in a coma, on a ventilator with 21 broken bones, a ruptured spleen, and had suffered a stroke. The doctors told my parents that I had a 5% chance of surviving the night. Even now, I still can’t believe it. Derrick Law Firm

My road to recovery was long but I survived. I spent 30 days in the Pediatric I.C.U., a week of which was spent in a medically induced coma. I had a total of 4 surgeries, including a splenectomy, multiple drainage valves, 6 chest tubes, a feeding tube, and a massive Traumatic Brain Injury. I was transferred to a rehabilitation hospital where it was time to see what setbacks I had and where my future was going. My brain injury and altered mental status needed just as much attention as my physical injuries. So when I say every day was packed I mean it. I didn’t get weekends off. I was supposed to be in this rehab for 2 months. I left after 10 days because I made the progress I so desperately was pushing to make. There was just one setback, part of my therapy was getting me back to a junior high school education level.

When I took the Woodcock Johnson test, the results said that I was at a fourth grade education level. I felt that all of those painful and exhausting days were for nothing. Soon after I finally came home, still not given the ‘yes’ to walk, I realized I had to catch up on the school work that was uncompleted. After much studying, my teachers finally gave me the exams and I passed all of them with flying colors, happily ending my junior year with a 3.9 GPA.

A few days before I started my senior year, I got the approval to start walking again which left me over the moon that I was able to walk into school instead of being pushed in a wheelchair. I was also ecstatic to walk across the graduation stage to receive my diploma having straight A’s. I finished out that year strong, Madison Strong! College was and is not easy. I needed reminders from my father to help me keep track of assignments. It was tough, my first semester didn’t end how I wanted. However, I was able to learn what worked for me and use it. Now, I am on the dean’s list here at Coastal. It isn’t easy, but I make it possible.

For more information about the Dirk Derrick Car & Truck Accident Injury Scholarship for 2021, please see

Dirk J. Derrick
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South Carolina Lawyer Dirk Derrick helps victims recover from car accidents, personal injury & wrongful death.