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Water-Tank Accident Victims File Lawsuit

By Quinn Ford | August 2, 2013 5:32pm | Updated on August 2, 2013 6:50pm
 A wooden tank from a water tower lays on the ground, where it injured people and crushed at least one car.
A wooden tank from a water tower lays on the ground, where it injured people and crushed at least one car.
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DNAinfo/Quinn Ford

LAKEVIEW — A couple injured in Wednesday's accident when a massive water tank plunged from a building in Lakeview have hired one of Chicago's top law firms to represent them in a lawsuit.

Clifford Law Offices filed a lawsuit in Cook County Circuit Court Friday on behalf of Lauren Hussar, 27, and her boyfriend Jack Baginski, 29, seeking damages from the building's owner, Brewster Condominium Corporation, and its condo association.

The suit seeks damages of more than $50,000 for each victim.

Baginski was helping Hussar move out of an apartment building in the 2800 block of North Pine Grove Avenue Wednesday.

The two were standing near Baginski's car when a water tank fell nine stories from atop the Brewster building, located just next door, injuring the with "flying debris and a tidal wave of water," according to a statement from the law firm.

Hussar and Baginski were taken to Adocate Illinois Masonic Medical Center, where Hussar was listed in critical condition. A second woman was also injured in the accident and taken to St. Joseph Hospital, police said.

On Thursday, Baginski's father told DNAinfo Chicago that his son had been released from the hospital, but Hussar remained hospitalized as of Friday evening, according to the law firm's statement.

A spokesperson for the firm did not provide details of Hussar's injuries or state as of Friday, but police said the 27-year-old woman was hospitalized with critical injuries to her head and chest. Witnesses said Wednesday she was in and out of consciousness after being hit.

Police said Baginski was hospitalized with "abrasions to his torso." The third person injured, a 56-year-old woman, was treated for minor injuries to both her legs, police said.

Witnesses said the woman was a teacher at a day care center located next to the Brewster building and was opening a door to go into the alley when the water tank crashed to the ground.

The teacher has not been in contact with lawyers at Clifford Law Firm, a spokesperson said.

On Friday, city officials said they were investigating the cause of the accident.

Richard Burke, a lawyer with Clifford Law Offices, is representing the couple in the lawsuit. In the statement, Burke said the law firm is asking for all maintenance and inspection records for the building and its water tank.

"Such an old and potentially dangerous structure must be carefully inspected and meticulously maintained to ensure it is securely mounted to the roof of the building," Burke said in the statement. "People living in densely populated neighborhoods need to know these aging water tanks are safe."

Clifford Law Offices have had a number of high-profile cases over the years, including winning a $30 million verdict for violinist Rachel Barton, whose leg was lost in an accident involving a Metra train.