A 26-year-old woman who dreamed of becoming a dance teacher was dealt a life-changing blow in August of 2015. A 750 pound awning at Chicago’s O’Hare airport fell on her during a thunder storm.
While the woman survived, she was left paralyzed. She has since filed a wrongful conduct lawsuit against both the City of Chicago and its Aviation Department. The case goes in front of a judge on Aug. 10, 2017.
The victim in this case had been waiting under the awning at the airport the day when the awning came crashing down on her. As it came into contact with her, she first heard a noticeable cracking noise followed by a numbing sensation that she could feel throughout most of her body. She immediately could tell that her spinal cord had been severed in half and that she’d never walk again.
As the investigation into the incident continued during the following days, it was determined that not only were the shelters missing their bolts, but that their ground mounts were missing as well. In addition, parts that were corroded were found everywhere. In one case, an investigator not only determined that 22 bolts were missing on one awning, but eight screws that were used to secure the structure to the ground were also missing.
The inspection by the investigators ultimately resulted in the shelters being removed. The city’s Aviation Department claims they do not have any maintenance records for these awnings. In the filing of the woman’s lawsuit, it highlights that the city has admitted its negligence in this case.
In the nearly two years since the accident occurred, the woman has not only struggled to come to terms with the fact that her dreams of becoming a dance teacher are no longer a reality, but she has faced many health issues as well. Most recently, she has developed severe anxiety and persistent infections because of her paralysis.
The woman’s lawsuit doesn’t disclose what she feels is a fair amount of compensation that she should be awarded for the permanent injuries she suffered. However, in working with a Chicago area personal injury attorney, she surely will be advised to seek to recover costs associated with her medical bills, pain and suffering, loss of wages and other expenses.
Source: chicago.cbslocal.com, “2 investigators: O’Hare shelters removed, after paralyzing accident,” David Savini, May 01, 2017