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Tragic Tent Collapse After Baseball Game Kills Illinois Man

Accidents can and do happen but when people are killed and the incident could have been avoided, the situation is even more tragic.

According to a recent report by Thompson Reuters, this past Saturday, an Illinois man was killed and approximately 100 others were hurt when high winds caused a deadly tent collapse outside a St. Louis sports bar. The tent had been set up after a St. Louis Cardinals game at nearby Busch Stadium, with approval from city officials. After it had been erected, the tent was checked by city inspectors, and passed inspection criteria that required it to be able to withstand winds up to 90 miles-per-hour, reported Thompson Reuters.

Nevertheless, winds were strong that day and the tent proved unstable. As a storm rolled into the area, winds exceeded 70 miles per hour, and a gust of wind destroyed the aluminum poles supporting the tent. Initially the tent collapsed onto the more than 200 patrons underneath, and ultimately was blown onto nearby railway tracks.
Thompson Reuters reports that almost 100 victims were treated for injuries at the scene, 17 were taken to hospitals, and one man – a resident of Waterloo, Illinois – was killed.

Although the bar may claim that its patrons assumed risks of injury by attending a bar in an outdoor tent during severe weather, the city was responsible for ensuring the safety of the tent and bar-goers had the right to assume that conditions were safe based on the city’s approval.

Illinois premises liability law is a significant branch of Illinois personal injury law that allows victims to recover after they have been injured on another person’s property, and the negligence of the property owner or manager was the cause of that harm. In this case, the city was responsible for inspecting the tent, and ensuring that it was safe for patrons during the then-present weather conditions. When an accident or injury occurs to a visitor on another person’s property – in this case, property for which the city was responsible – the owner or manager of the property may be made to pay damages in an Illinois premises liability lawsuit if it can be proved that their negligence led to the injury.

Under Illinois law, wrongful death is the legal concept that arises when a person’s death has been caused by the fault or negligence of another person or corporation. Here, the city had a duty to ensure that the tent was safe, and their failure to do so led to a man’s death.

In Illinois wrongful death cases such as one that could potentially arise from this situation, family members can file claims to potentially make the wrongdoer pay damages for things such as the loss of companionship, monetary damages to cover the earnings the deceased person would have provided, and expenses associated with the death such as funeral and burial costs, as well as having to experience grief and sorrow as a result of losing a loved one.

Though a lawsuit can never bring a loved one back to life, it is a step in the right direction, both for achieving justice, and making those at fault pay for their careless actions.

Our Chicago wrongful death attorneys have handled a number of these types of cases, including having won a $6.0 million settlement for the families of 6 children who died in a tragic apartment fire on Chicago’s north side, where landlords of the building failed to have proper and working smoke detectors in violation of the Chicago Municipal Code, and the children were not able to escape the building in time.