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Balcony Collapse Trial Ended In Record-Settling Settlement

A 25-year-old man was on the balcony of a friend’s Chicago apartment when he leaned against the railing and felt it detach from the building. “There was no sort of horseplay going on. It was just three fellas outside having a conversation,” said his attorney. As the rusty railing gave way, he grabbed another part of the balcony. He fell 16 feet to the ground, landing on his feet – most likely because he was able to get his hand on the beam before falling. He underwent several surgeries due to two broken heel bones, a burst fracture in his lumbar spine and a broken right wrist. Three years later, this once cross-country runner, is limited in the type of high-impact activity he can do. He will likely experience some degree of pain at the injury sites for the rest of his life.

The victim filed a lawsuit against the property manager Lakeview Associates Inc. and property owner LA Burling LLC in July 2013, alleging maintenance officials failed to inspect and repair the defective balcony so it would not give way under an individual’s normal use and failed to warn invitees of its dangerous condition.

Both defendants contended that the victim either knew or should have known the railing was not intended to support his weight. The case was mediated in December 2014, but a settlement could not be reached. During the litigation process, it was discovered that maintenance crews painted over the railing’s rust at least five year prior to the incident. Lakeview later admitted negligence, although LA Burling denied all allegations throughout the litigation. Two days into the trial, the case settled for $4.5 million, the largest porch collapse settlement in Illinois history, according to a news release.

“If the property owners had properly maintained the balcony, and ensured that it was up to code, our client would not have suffered the injuries he did,” Patrick A. Salvi II said in the news release. “I hope this case can serve as a reminder to property owners and managers that safety must always be a priority.”

Litigation is costly and timing consuming; this case took three years to reach a settlement. The victim was seriously injured, he faced numerous surgeries and seeking a college degree was put on hold. He may have been left in a devastating financial situation, especially with mounting medical expenses and the inability to obtain an income. Although his case ultimately settled, he may have struggled financially for years.

In any lawsuit, it is not only important for a victim to win his/her case, but it is equally important to maintain financial stability without settling too early, for too little. This may be possible by securing lawsuit funding against their pending lawsuit. When someone is seeking a settlement advance for a personal injury claim, they oftentimes use the funding to help pay for associated expenses, such as medical bills or tuition costs. Funding can also be used as leverage, allowing their attorney extra time to negotiate a fair settlement.

A lawsuit cash advance is based only on the merits of the case and not on credit standing. Repayment would occur if, and only if, recovery was made in the case. The application process is quick and easy, and can be done online. Once approved, funding can be available for use in 48 hours or less. Call Litigation Funding toll free, 1-877-377-SUIT (7848) or visit us online. A representative would be happy to answer any questions or assist you with processing your application.

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