Stage Collapse At Indiana State Fair Kills Seven
On August 13th, 2011, American country music singers Sugarland were scheduled to hold a concert at the Indiana State Fair. Throughout the day, the National Weather Service issued several warnings which indicated that violent storms were expected to take place, storms that would include rain, strong winds, hail, and lightning.
The warnings indicated that the worst part of the storm would hit the Indiana State Fair at 9:15 p.m., thirty minutes after the anticipated start of the concert. The Executive Director of the Indiana State Fair Committee was made aware of the impending storm and contacted Sugarland’s managers to see if they would be open to canceling the concert or at least delaying the start of the show until the storm passed, but the managers responded that the show should go on as scheduled. The Director agreed to the decision.
At around 8:00 p.m., a police captain expressed his concern about the coming storm and the impact that it may have on concert goers to the Director. He advised canceling the show entirely but was met with resistance. Instead, he helped the concert staff create an evacuation plan for attendees.
Fans were able to enjoy the opening show put on by singer Sarah Bareilles, but just prior to Sugarland taking the stage, the police captain once again approached the Director and insisted that the concert be canceled or postponed for the safety of all involved. This time, the Director listened but as the two were walking towards the stage to make the announcement, disaster struck.
Wind & Structural Issues Make A Deadly Combination
Even before the worst part of the storm hit, winds of 60 to 70 mph blew through the fair and applied pressure to a section of the stage which would later be found to have insufficient support. In a matter of seconds, thousands of pounds in metal scaffolding, rigging, and musical equipment fell directly into the crowd, crushing many of the fans and staff members.
Despite the help of bystanders and the quick response of emergency crews, four victims died on the scene, three at the hospital, and an additional 58 sustained serious injuries.
The collapse was investigated and according to the final report, the concrete barriers used to secure sections of the stage and rigging were not actually secured to the ground and as a result, the structure collapse due to “the inadequate capacity of the lateral load resisting system”.
19 Companies Pay $50 Million To Injured Fans
The survivors and loved ones of those who died in this horrific accident joined forces to sue 19 companies associated with the concert and venue, alleging that the tragedy could have been avoided if the defendants had not been negligent. The case did not go to trial, instead a settlement agreement was reached in which $50 million was paid to the plaintiffs.
It might be easy to pretend that this is an isolated incident but sadly, structural collapses and defective equipment cause accidents which regularly harm attendees and staff.
Defective Equipment Lawsuits: Who Can File A Complaint?
Anyone who has been hurt by defective equipment or structural issues has the right to pursue legal action against those responsible. If the person who was hurt in the accident died from their injuries, their loved ones may also be able to pursue legal action. Often, family members who are eligible include the parents, spouses, and children of the deceased, however, others who were dependant on the deceased may also be able to file.
Defendants may include:
- Parts Manufacturers.
- Structural Designers & Architects
- Venue Owners
- Venue Staff
It’s important to remember that all civil lawsuits have a strict statute of limitations which means that the lawsuit must be filed within a certain period of time in order to be valid.
How Do I Choose A Concert Accident Attorney?
Choosing the right attorney to help you with your case is an important decision. You are likely feeling overwhelmed and unsure of where to turn to for help. At Banville Law, we recommend that you keep the following questions in mind when speaking to various law firms:
Does the attorney practice personal injury law exclusively?
There are many types of law and the law firm and attorney you choose should be focused solely on the type which applies to your case, otherwise, they may not be up-to-date on the latest changes to the law.
Does the attorney have a history of successful verdicts & settlements?
Always ask any attorney you speak with for examples of cases in which they successfully helped their client get the compensation that they needed.
Does the attorney have trial experience?
While it is true that the majority of civil lawsuits are settled outside of a courtroom there is no way to guarantee that this will happen in every case. It’s important to work with an attorney who knows what it’s like to take the fight before a judge and jury.
Are references available?
Do the law firm and the attorney have a good reputation? Can they put you in contact with satisfied clients? What do their Google reviews say about them?
Our legal team understands how deeply personal this decision is and we look forward to answering all of these questions as you seek legal assistance.
I Can’t Afford My Medical Bills – How Can I Afford An Attorney?
Hiring an attorney might seem like a financial impossibility since you are already juggling extensive medical bills associated with your injury. Our experienced lawyers know the financial strain that concert accidents place on victims which is why we work on a contingency fee.
This means that our fees will be taken directly out of the compensation that we obtain for you. The bottom line is that if we don’t win, we don’t get paid. It’s that simple.
To learn more about how to proceed with a lawsuit, our law firm’s history of successful outcomes, or how much your claim might be worth, contact us today.