$1.95M settlement after slide toppled at Algonquin school party in 2013
A student who is suffering from a chronic pain condition as a result of injuries she suffered when an inflatable slide tipped over during a year-end party at an Algonquin elementary school in May 2013 has settled her lawsuit against the school's PTO and a rental company for nearly $1.95 million.
The girl's parents sued Community Unit District 300, the Algonquin Lakes Elementary School PTO and Ed's Rental and Sales Inc., arguing they were negligent in not securing or anchoring the slide to the floor after an outdoor, year-end party was moved inside because of bad weather.
At the time, school officials said up to 17 students had minor injuries and "absolutely nothing serious occurred."
However, the girl, who is now 16 and lives in Florida with her family, sustained a fractured left wrist, fractured left ankle and damage to ligaments and tendons in her ankle in the fall and developed post-traumatic arthritis, according to Kane County court records.
"They live in Florida right now and she can't even walk on the beach because of her ankle. It's sad," said Jeffrey E. Martin, the attorney for the girl and her family.
In November 2016, the girl had surgery to remove scar tissue and began to exhibit chronic pain as a symptom of Complex Regional Pain Syndrome. Doctors at the Nemours Specialty Hospital in Jacksonville, Florida, and the Rush Pain Clinic in Chicago both agreed on the pain syndrome diagnosis, according to court records.
"Obviously, if the school slide incident had never occurred, (she) would not have injured her ankle, would not have needed surgery and would not have developed CRPS," read part of the settlement agreement.
The school district reached a partial settlement of $25,000 in March 2017; the school PTO and Ed's Rental offered the remaining balances on their $1 million insurance policies, which were $955,000 and $990,000, respectively, for the settlement that was approved Thursday, court records show.
Martin said he was pleased the PTO and Ed's Rental recognized the "severity of what she is stuck with for the rest of her life" and offered the remainder of their $1 million insurance policies.
Martin said the girl has "a very hard journey" ahead of her and one treatment option is for a surgery to implant a pulse generator that sends small electrical impulses to an area of her spinal cord to block the pain.
The settlement comes to about $1.28 million after attorney fees, and Martin said while it seems like a lot of money, his client "would probably give it all away just to have her health back."
Attorneys for the PTO and Ed's Rentals could not immediately be reached.