SEATTLE — After more than two years of fighting, Alyah Payne from Seattle offered to come to the KING 5 studios so we could document her signing a historic settlement.
The $11 million settlement with the Port of Seattle and construction company Hensel Phelps is the largest payout ever to an injured worker at the airport, according to Jury Verdicts Northwest.
"After signing this, I won't have to focus so much on survival. I can focus on living and healing," said Payne.
The moment two baggage tugs were heading toward each other on a blind corner was captured by airport security cameras. They crashed right into each other and Payne was driving one of the tugs. The accident changed her life; her left foot was crushed.
"I struggled really hard, there were points where I didn't want to wake up and go through another day. I didn't want to wake up and look down and see my missing foot," she said.
Payne sued the Port of Seattle, saying they should have provided more safety measures, such as a stationed flagger around that blind corner.
"The facts of this case are such that Alyah was forced to go on a one-lane road and head in a direction against traffic that would be coming the other way," said Attorney Ray Bishop.
After a month in the hospital, Payne's foot and part of her leg were amputated.
"A piece of me died. I lost who I used to be and now I'm here and I want to push for reform so other people don't have to go through this either," she said.
Payne hopes this lawsuit urges the Port to prioritize safety.
"I'm hoping that they take my case, see that they messed up and do better," she said.
Her life is forever changed.
"I was dealing with bleeding and infection and that is always going to be a part of my life where I have to make sure that I'm okay physically," Payne said.
Now, Payne said she can finally make new plans for her future and this settlement should help her do that.
"I've been through it and I would love to make a change and difference to people who have gone through this as well," she said.
The Port of Seattle confirmed the settlement and sent this statement, "The Port of Seattle can confirm that a negotiated settlement was reached and agreed to by all parties in this case. The settlement was funded by insurance policies and no taxpayer dollars were used.”
Despite paying $11 million to Payne, both the Port and Hensel Phelps would not admit to any wrongdoing in the settlement papers.