The 2011 tragic stage collapse at the Indiana State Fair in Indianapolis continues to affect numerous people - those who lost loved ones, those who were injured, and those who may or may not have been at least partially responsible for the accident. In an attempt to figure out who other than Mother Nature was responsible, the State of Indiana contracted with two different firms, one to study the stage and the other to review what preparations were made in case of an emergency. The firms were also asked to give recommendations on how the state could prevent tragedies like this at future events.
According to one report, the fair board and Indiana police approached Sugarland, the band waiting to perform, about postponing the show more than once. Each time they asked, they were told the band did not want to postpone the show. However, during a deposition, one of the band members said she was never approached by anyone about cancelling or postponing the show, so attorneys are now looking at the band's touring manager as the one who may have put the concertgoers' lives at risk. The same report also faulted the fair board for not having a clear safety plan or chain of command in case of an emergency.
The other report found fault with the stage design. It was not built to withstand the high winds that brought down the stage rigging on the crowd. Over $80,000 in fines have been issued by the Indiana Department of Labor, including about $63,000 against Mid-America Sound, which built the stage for the fair. As a result of this accident, the Indiana Fire Prevention and Building Safety Commission passed new regulations regarding temporary stages for outdoor events in Indiana at the beginning of May this year. Larger venues will be required to have their stages and rigging plans reviewed by an engineer and will have to provide documented emergency plans. Those smaller fairs or festivals that most likely could not afford the additional cost of an engineer's review would be required to leave additional space between the stage and the crowd. An eight-foot area between the between the crowd and the tallest height of the rigging would be necessary to avoid being in violation of the regulations.
Wrongful death and personal injury lawsuits have been filed against many of the people and groups mentioned above. Until it becomes more clear who or what was ultimately at fault for the accident, the victims and their families are covering all of their bases. In the meantime, some of those who were injured continue to recuperate and others who lost friends or loved ones attempt to heal emotionally. If you have been injured or have lost a loved one due to negligence, an experienced Kentucky or Indiana personal injury attorney can help you sort through the details and determine what claims or lawsuits need to be filed. The attorneys at Miller & Falkner have helped numerous clients throughout Kentucky and Indiana with their personal injury and wrongful death cases.
Lawyers eyeing Sugarland tour manager; The Courier-Journal; Tom Coyne; April 16, 2012
Reports: Stage in Indiana Fair Collapse Not Up to Code; CNN; April 13, 2012
New outdoor stage rigging regulations issued in wake of stage collapse; WANE; May 4, 2012