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Dancer Paralyzed by Shelter Collapse at O’Hare Receives $148 Million

After less than a day of deliberation, a Chicago jury awarded Tierney Darden $148 million for a shelter collapse outside O’Hare Airport that ripped her spinal cord in half, leaving her permanently paralyzed from the waist down and in constant pain.

In August 2015, Tierney, her mother, and sister had just returned to Chicago after traveling to Minneapolis to pick out a wedding dress for her sister. The three were waiting outside O’Hare under one of several pedestrian shelters found at the airport. A storm caused the shelter to suddenly collapse, trapping Tierney, now 26. After the accident, CBS 2 investigators found corroded parts and missing bolts and screws in not only the shelter that collapsed, but in nearly all others. The discovery and exposure forced O’Hare to remove all pedestrian shelters.

Tierney, a former dancer at Truman College, told CBS 2 of the accident “I hate it. I hate that I have to wake up every day and see it.”

The $148 million dollar verdict will not come from taxpayers, but from the insurance company used by O’Hare – AIG Aviation.

O’Hare Responsible for Neglect
The airport, by providing shelters, had a duty to maintain them to ensure their safety. The CBS 2 investigation immediately uncovered corroded parts and missing connective pieces, such as nuts and bolts, that were required to ensure structural stability. This area of law, called Premises Liability, applies to any area of land or a building that an owner or operator has neglected or failed to maintain. This area of law can be extremely complex, as not all injuries sustained on someone else’s property are automatically considered negligent.

The Illinois personal injury attorneys of Chicago-based Levin & Perconti have over 25 years of proven success litigating premises liability cases that involves slip and fall accidents, exposure to toxic materials or unsanitary conditions, dog bites or attacks, and other injuries sustained as a result of an owner or landlord’s inability to maintain and repair buildings, their structures, or land. If you or a loved one suspect that a landlord, building, or property owner is responsible for injuries sustained while on their property, please contact us for a free consultation with one of our licensed injury attorneys.