Ohio has the dubious honor of being the site of one of the best-known concert disasters in U.S. history. In 1979, 11 teens and young adults were killed and at least 26 others injured when a crowd waiting outside the Riverfront Coliseum (now the Heritage Bank Center) in Cincinnati surged. Many people were knocked down in the crowd and unable to get up due to the close crush of bodies around them. All the deaths were attributed to asphyxiation.
The crowd was waiting to be admitted to the building to see The Who, and the event was “festival seating” (now generally known as “general admission”). The crowd reportedly began to push forward when they heard music from inside the building and believed the concert had started. The force was so great that some people were pushed through a plate glass window by the weight of the crowd behind them.
After that incident, Cincinnati banned general admission events for nearly 25 years. Other areas enacted similar restrictions. Though those restrictions have largely been eliminated today, the incident remains a powerful illustration of how poor planning or crowd management can be disastrous.
Common Types of Concert Injuries
Of course, not all concert injuries are as serious or impact as many people as the example above. The types of injuries that can occur at concerts and the possible responsible parties vary greatly. Here are some examples:
Crowd surging injuries
The Riverfront Coliseum incident involved people surging outside the venue, trying to force their way in for general admission seating. But this type of injury occurs during shows, too. Just a few months ago, several people were killed and more than 100 injured when the crowd surged toward the stage while rapper Travis Scott was performing at the Astroworld Festival.
Injuries due to negligent or overly aggressive security
Concert security companies have a tough job, but sometimes they go too far. A Wisconsin man received a $1.2 million settlement after security at a Minnesota concert lowered a hydraulic steel barrier onto his foot, causing permanent disability.
Perhaps the best-known concert fire was the Station nightclub fire in 2003, which claimed 100 lives. Pyrotechnics ignited by the band’s manager started the fire, which spread rapidly due to the walls and ceiling being lined with flammable soundproofing materials.
Crowd surfing injuries
You don’t have to crowd surf yourself to sustain an injury. For example, a teenage girl suffered injury to her head and neck at Riot Fest in 2017 when a “large male” crowd surfer was dropped on her.
Other concert injuries are just like the type of injury someone might suffer in any public place. One common example is slip, trip, and fall injuries caused by substances or objects on the floor, poor lighting, unmarked changes in level, loose carpeting or tile, poorly maintained stairs or railings, and other hazards.
Liability for Concert Injuries
Determining who is responsible for concert injuries can be complicated, and it’s in your best interest to work with an attorney experienced with multi-party litigation. In some cases, it may be difficult to determine who was responsible and investigation may be required before the suit is filed. Your attorney may also find that two or more parties share responsibility. In this situation, it is important to ensure that all possible responsible parties are named in the lawsuit. Otherwise, one party may defend itself at trial by blaming the party you didn’t sue. If the jury believes the other party–who isn’t there to defend itself–was responsible, you could end up with nothing.
To illustrate just how complex this can be, consider the lawsuit surrounding the Station nightclub fire described above.
Some of the parties who contributed to the settlement with injured parties and surviving family members of those who died in the fire included:
- The band, whose manager set off the pyrotechnics that started the fire;
- The venue owners, who had improperly installed foam insulation to muffle sound;
- The city government, which was accused of failing to identify and act on the insulation problem during fire inspections;
- The manufacturer of the foam insulation;
- The retail outlet that sold the foam insulation and their supplier;
- A major beer company that sponsored the event;
- A local radio station that promoted the event and its parent company.
Of course, not every case is so complicated. But the best way to ensure that you have identified all possible responsible parties is to consult an attorney experienced with this type of litigation. The right attorney will also be able to investigate the incident, obtain contracts clarifying who was responsible for which aspects of security, maintenance, and other services that may have contributed to the incident, gather evidence, and work with expert witnesses to establish liability and damages.
If you’ve been injured at a concert, sporting event, festival, or other event, you owe it to yourself to learn more about your rights right now. Schedule a free consultation with one of our veteran personal injury attorneys right now. Just call 855-4PLEVIN, fill out the contact form on this site, or click in the lower right-hand corner of this page to chat.