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$148M Award 'Gives Me Hope,' Says Dancer Paralyzed By Fallen Bus Shelter

25 August 2017

The city of Chicago admitted liability for the conduct that caused Darden's injuries, her lawyers said, and offered to pay $30 million to settle the case.

It's the largest personal injury verdict in Cook County and the woman at the center of the case speaks out. "The verdict is fair and reasonable because unfortunately Tierney suffered what the doctors described as.the worst spinal cord injury someone can suffer", said attorney Patrick Salvi.

A reward of up to $500 million is covered by insurance, so the city will not have to pay.

A dancer who was paralyzed when a bus shelter collapsed on her at O'Hare airport thanked jurors Thursday following a $148 million verdict in her case.

Tierney Darden is wheeled out after a press conference Thursday by her father David. During the trial, city attorneys had said Darden deserved up to $34 million while the woman's attorneys asked for $174 million. A storm rolled through the area as the women were waiting to be picked up, and a pedestrian shelter came loose and fell onto Darden.

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The jury, after hearing how the city didn't perform needed maintenance to the shelter, deliberated for less than a day on Wednesday.

Tierney Darden, 26, always dreamed of being a dancer. "At that point, I knew I was paralyzed", she told the jury during the trial.

Salvi said he did not believe an appeal would be successful.

Darden, who said she was struggling to wrap her head around the size of the verdict, said she had no immediate plans for the money.

Darden's spinal cord was ripped in two, paralyzing her from the waist down.

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"They need to live their lives, too", Darden said.

In August 2015, Darden, then a dance student, was standing with her mother and sister on a lower-level street that accesses O'Hare's Terminal 2 during a storm.

The three women had just returned to Chicago from Minneapolis, where they were shopping for bridesmaid dresses for an upcoming wedding, Darden's lawyers said.

Parts had rusted away and bolts were missing. "I don't know what to say because it blew me away", Darden said. Her attorneys said the city later removed all of the O'Hare shelters.

Darden's father, David, said that while his daughter put on a courageous face for the public, it had been hard for him to see his "funny, bubbly little girl" become sad and depressed.

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$148M Award 'Gives Me Hope,' Says Dancer Paralyzed By Fallen Bus Shelter