Her whole world was shattered in an instant.
“It’s just completely changed my life,” said Erin Field. “I’m doing as well as I could be for being a quadriplegic.”
Field was visiting her brother at his North End apartment in July of 2017.
He’d tied a hammock to a chimney on the rooftop.
Field hopped on the hammock, and the moment her boyfriend joined her nothing would ever be the same.
“As soon as Jack sat down, the chimney collapsed,” said Field. “And fell right on top of me.”
The injuries were catastrophic.
“I broke my neck, my spinal cord,” said Field, who was 21 and a college athlete at the time. “And I had crushed ribs. I don’t have any function from the chest down or feeling.”
Three years later she’s now filed a lawsuit against the manufacturer of the hammock, Eagle Nest Outfitters in North Carolina.
Her attorney Terry Garmey says the company encouraged people to tie up hammocks in dangerous and unusual ways and to post photos to win prizes.
“This is a product that was a wolf in sheep’s clothing,” said Garmey.
The lawsuit contends the company not only engaged in an aggressive marketing campaign which promoted the unsafe use of its products, but it also did not adequately warn consumers about the risks.
“Chimneys, unknown to a lot of us, don’t resist a lot of force,” said Garmey. “It collapsed. It’s happened before, it’s happened again.”
Erin has lost her independence. She relies on nearly around-the-clock care. She plans to go to law school and represent people with disabilities.
“You just have to adapt,” she said. “Some people can, and some people can’t. It’s not easy and you just have to realize you can keep living your life, but nothing will be the same.”
Eagle Nest Outfitters has not returned a request for comment.