To date, seven people have been killed, and another 45 injured from a stage collapse that occurred at the Indiana State Fair on August 13, 2011. According to CNN, an audience of about 12,000 was gathered waiting for the country music band Sugarland to take the state, when high winds caused stage scaffolding to collapse. The structure supporting the stage lights fell onto fans in front of the stage, and stage rigging came crashing down on fans.
Initially dozens were sent to area hospitals, and four others died at the scene. The incident has claimed the lives of seven people so far, including students from universities across Indiana.
The first wrongful death lawsuit was filed last Friday, alleging that the defendants were responsible for improperly constructing and maintaining the stage. A subsequent lawsuit filed by the family of another individual who was killed in the incident alleges gross negligence and recklessness on the part of the state, and by the promoters and producers of the event for failing to properly warn concertgoers of the potential stage collapse and subsequent danger that occurred as a result of an impending storm.
One of the lawsuits also asks for a temporary injunction that prevents the state from moving what’s left of the stage, until it can be preserved as evidence for future lawsuits. Following the initial filing, several others have given notice that they intend to file suit against the state and against Mid-America Sound Corporation, the company responsible for constructing the stage.
So far, $263,000 has been donated to a fund to help victims. The money was donated by bands that performed at the State Fair, and by students of the University of Indiana. Additionally, $55,000 worth of concert proceeds has been donated by the bands Train and Maroon Five, which has not yet been included in the fund. The payments from the fund are considered charitable gifts, and are not considered compensation for any injuries sustained during the accident. The fund, while intended to assist victims of this tragedy, must be divided amongst the dozens of fans who were injured in the stage collapse, and would not serve as adequate compensation for the lives lost during this unfortunate event.
Although money can never bring a loved one back, wrongful death lawsuits can allow families to recover for the loss of companionship that the family member would have provided, and for the lost wages that the individual would have contributed to help provide for his or her family. Moreover, legal action, in and of itself can bring attention to issues, and send a message to others to prevent negligence. Hopefully in the future, the people who run, organize, and build fixtures for State fairs will be more careful in their actions, and will be quicker to warn people of potential dangers.
Unfortunately tragedies such as the one that occurred in Indiana cannot be predicted. However, when tragedies do occur, an attorney may be the best person to advise you of your rights. Our Chicago personal injury attorneys have experience handing cases that arise as a result of unforeseeable circumstances, and have the compassion and experience to help you fight for your rights.