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Cook County man paralyzed by falling branch, settlement possible

When some people see something that could cause injury on property owned by a government entity, they will sometimes contact the appropriate authorities to make a complaint or notify them of the problem. That is what happened when people noticed dead branches on a tree in the 500 block of West Grant Place in Lincoln Park. The City of Chicago, however, neglected to clear dead branches from the tree.

The complaints about the tree date back to at least October of 2010, according to a lawsuit filed against the city. There were 311 phone calls and Internet messages concerning the tree. One of those messages informed authorities that the branches had fallen from the tree and caused damage to a vehicle. The Alderman for the area filed a complaint on Oct. 26, 2010, and followed up with a letter on June 21, 2011, concerning the tree.

On Aug. 4, 2011, a man was riding his bicycle in the area going back to work at Jimmy John's following a delivery. A branch from that tree fell on him and caused serious injuries. The man is now paralyzed from the waist down, according to his attorney. The now-39-year-old man resides in an assisted living home.

The Emanuel administration has proposed a $5.75 million settlement, which must be approved by the Aldermen. The man's attorney says the size of the settlement is due to the cost of the man's medical care. He praised the city for the agreement to settle once they had the facts about the accident.

Anyone who has been injured by falling objects might have the right to take action to seek compensation for medical bills and other related costs. Knowing how to seek compensation in Illinois might help to make the process easier

Source: Chicago Tribune, "Injury from tree limb may cost city $5.75 million" Hal Dardick and David Heinzmann, Mar. 30, 2014 

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