Paralyzed Dancer Secures Largest Ever Personal Injury Award In Illinois

Charlotte Personal Injury Attorney Matt Arnold answers the question: “What if the medical condition improves before the hearing?”


A recent case in Illinois exemplifies to many exactly why personal injury cases can be so important. The challenge of bringing a personal injury claim is great; one must try and quantify the unquantifiable; put a price tag on the pain the plaintiff has experienced (and will continue to experience). At its best, a personal injury suit awards victims the money they need to try and rebuild their lives. Though the system is imperfect, it can succeed in giving hope.


bus-stop-Charlotte-Injury-Lawyer-Mooresville-Accident-Attorney-300x270The case in Chicago started back in 2015 when a young woman, Tierney Darden, was only 24. Darden was with her mother and younger sister and had just returned to Chicago from Minneapolis. The three were in Minnesota to go shopping for bridesmaid dresses in preparation for an upcoming wedding. On August 2nd, they walked out of the airport to wait for a bus on a street near Terminal 2. Just then, a storm moved into the area and the three women waited in a pedestrian shelter for the bad weather to die down. Unbeknownst to the women, the shelter had been poorly maintained and it eventually collapsed, crushing Darden under its 750-pound weight.


Darden was rushed to a hospital and has since had numerous surgeries and other medical procedures. Despite the rapid medical intervention, she suffered grave harm. Today she is paralyzed from the waist down. As a result, she requires constant care, currently provided by her parents. In addition to the paralysis, Darden suffers chronic debilitating pain, something that will require additional surgeries to bring under control.


Though the accident would be tragic in any circumstance, it was especially so for Darden. She was young and healthy at the time, simply in the wrong place at the wrong moment. She was also a trained dancer attending college to perfect her craft. She was living on her own and attending school in downtown Chicago, living the active life she had always dreamed of. The accident robbed her not only of her legs, but also of her livelihood and her independence.


Darden and her attorneys investigated the matter and discovered that the shelter she had been standing under had multiple missing bolts. A subsequent investigation revealed that other pedestrian shelters at the airport were also missing bolts or had rusted and broken parts. The city took action and removed all the other shelters before anyone else got hurt. Though an important step, it was too late to help Darden. She filed suit against the city arguing that its negligence entitled her to compensation for the harm she suffered.


At trial, the city admitted that its actions had created legal liability. That said, government attorneys were only willing to settle for $30 million. Though a seemingly substantial number, when fees are taken out and medical expenses paid, the amount would do little to help Darden prepare for a changed life, one that requires the constant care of others. Her attorneys rejected the offer and a jury eventually awarded Darden $148 million.


This past week it was revealed that the city and Darden reached a settlement. Though Darden won big at trial, the city had already promised to appeal. Rather than delay for potentially years the time it would take for Darden to receive the money she badly needed, she agreed to a deal. The city and its insurers will now pay out $115 million to resolve the matter, a figure large enough to set a record for a single personal injury award in Illinois. Now that Darden has the money she deserves, she must begin the hard part of putting the pieces of her life back together again.


If you or someone close to you has been injured, contact an experienced personal injury attorney today who can help you receive the compensation to which you may be entitled. Contact Arnold & Smith, PLLC for a free consultation, call at 704-370-2828 or click here for additional resources.







The skilled personal injury attorneys at Arnold & Smith, PLLC are dedicated to maximizing the financial recovery and obtaining justice for every personal injury client injured by another party’s negligence. The issues our personal injury clients may be facing include, but are not limited to, slip and fall injuries, wrongful death, product liability, catastrophic injuries, dog bite claims, car and truck accident injuries, motorcycle injuries, traumatic brain injury (TBI), nursing home negligence, spinal cord injury, boating accidents, and defective medical device injury. Our personal injury attorneys understand the devastating impact such an injury can have on a person’s life, and that the effects so often go beyond physical pain and suffering. The personal injury attorneys at Arnold & Smith, PLLC are dedicated to helping clients determine the strength of their claims, and to aggressively pursuing the means necessary to achieve the best possible end result for each client’s particular situation.





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