A high school teacher who was paralyzed from the chest down after falling while riding her bicycle along the lakefront in Chicago is suing the city and the Chicago Park District.
Attorneys for 34-year-old Jennifer Kraft filed a lawsuit Tuesday alleging the City of Chicago, Chicago Park District and A&L, INC, “carelessly and negligently designed the trail by failing to warn bicyclists of an abrupt drop-off on the trail.”
The suit claims that Kraft, a high school chemistry teacher, was biking along the lakefront near East 37th Street when the trail she was on abruptly ended without warning, causing her to fall nine feet onto the concrete below. The suit describes the path as a "zig-zag" design with a "raised lip."
“It looked like the trail just kept going north,” Kraft said. “The next I know I’m on the ground, my helmet shattered.”
Kraft fractured three neck vertebrae, both shoulder blades and punctured her spine at chest level, the suit states.
“Jennifer’s life has been forever changed because of this unsafe trail,” Patrick Salvi, Managing Equity Partner at Salvi, Schostok & Pritchard P.C., said in a statement. “Not only does the trail design concern us, but the trail has no warning signs, railings, lights or other safety protections – not then, not now.”
Kraft won’t be able to ride a bike again, but she said she is working on learning how to hand cycle. She also said she hopes to return to her classroom in early 2015.
“Even though a lot of doors have closed, other ones have opened up,” she said. “I’m trying to look at doors opening instead of all the doors that are closing.”
The City of Chicago and the Chicago Park District said they are aware of the suit, but did not reply to NBC Chicago’s request for comment.