Wood Dale Microburst Storm Fatally Injures Father of Two


At 2:40pm on Sunday, August 2, 2015, a microburst storm swept through Wood Dale in the middle of a town festival that was organized to enhance and promote community development,  and family values. Tragically, innocent people suffered serious injuries and one resident was killed, resulting in a catastrophic tragedy to what was supposed to be a beautiful family day in this quiet community. The losses are deep. The tragic impact of such an event will endure for a lifetime for not only those who suffered a loss, but for those who witnesses the malay and destruction.

Steve Nincic, 33, suffered fatal injuries when a steel support pole came crashing down on his body as the winds lifted the tent and caused its supporting structures to come crashing to the ground. Fortunately, his wife was able to grab their 2 young children and run to safety just as the tent became unstable and began to be thrown about by the storm.

The true tragedy to this situation is that matters such as this are not only potentially predictable, they are preventable.

The true tragedy to this situation is that matters such as this are not only potentially predictable, they are preventable with prudent caution and control of events in the face of available meteorological information.

Several years ago, such a microburst came through the Village of Tinley Park as the Carmax car dealership was being constructed, causing a 100′ long, 28′ tall wall to come crashing to the ground, killing a mason’s laborer, Roberto Barragan, and injuring his brother, Jessie, in the process. Through investigative analysis and expert proofs, lawyers retained by the Barragan family were able to prove that weather reports had provided sufficient information that a high wind storm could come through the area during the precise hours that the storm actually came through Tinley Park. By establishing that the general contractor running that project was aware of, but ignored, this critical information that impacted the safety on the jobsite, lawyers for the family were able to secure a very significant multi-million dollar settlement that provided financial security for the Barragan family.  Counsel, Louis Cairo, of the GWC law firm, Illinois’ Largest Injury and Workers Compensation law firm, represented the family and commented on the ability to secure justice in these types of situations:

Unfortunately, when tragedy strikes, in any form, potentially responsible parties seek legal consultation immediately through their retained counsel and their liability insurance carrier’s retained defense lawyers. Their goal, in 100% of the situations, is to find ways to avoid legal responsibility and liability, or, at a minimum, to minimize their legal and financial exposure.  Their success, in whatever degree it comes, is at the expense of individuals who suffer serious injuries, and, of course, spouses, children, parents, siblings and friends who lose a loved one due to situations that are actually predictable and preventable.

In the Wood Dale tragedy, two factors will come into play that will be litigated exhaustively:  weather and municipal immunity laws.  The weather will be alleged to have been unpredictable, unanticipated and extensively more fierce than what the parties could have ever anticipated.  Acts of God are not compensible under Illinois law and that will be a “claimed” defense by any party defendant.  As for the Village of Wood Dale, it will attempt to avail itself of the protections of the Illinois law that provides tort immunity to municipalities for ordinary acts of negligence, as opposed to gross negligence/reckless and willfull conduct.

Both of these defense assertions should fail in this case because weather reports and imminent storms  provided a sufficient basis for parties to recognize the risk, thereby giving proper cause to terminate the joyous festivities and instruct attendees to return to their vehicles and abandon the grounds as the dangers far exceeded any potential benefit of continued presence at the grounds.  And no public official will ever be able to legitimately contend that public safety should ever be needlessly endangered when there exists evidence of a potential life-threatening storm. Likely, neither of these claimed defenses will be sufficient to protect the Village if named in a lawsuit.

While the matter is under investigation by the proper state and/or county authorities, private expert analysis through engineers and forensic experts retained by legal representatives on behalf of injured parties and/or Estate lawyers, will play a large part in determining the exact causes of this tragedy.  Hopefully, justice will prevail in this matter and the families will be compensated for their enormous losses.

For comments on this matter, please contact Louis C. Cairo at GWC.  312-464-1230 or [email protected]