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Negligent Security Seminar | March 2015

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Legal Implications of the Astroworld Festival Tragedy in Houston

The events of the tragedy at the Astroworld Festival highlight potential legal issues regarding poor security conditions when someone is hurt. A Miami negligent security lawyer can help you know whether you have a case against an event organizer and what your first steps should be. 

Earlier this month, tragedy struck in Houston after multiple people died while attending the Astroworld Music Festival. Crowds trampled several people as concertgoers fled for the exits in the outdoor venue, stoking chaos and confusion in all directions. 

Already, the lawsuits are piling up as victims and their families file cases against the festival organizers and other potentially-liable parties. 

The scene was horrible at the concert and underscores how much work should go into planning. 

The vast majority of concerts go off without any issues, which unfortunately leaves people feeling like planning or things like security costs aren’t a priority. 

Was that the case here? 

What Happened at Astroworld?

Proper precautions must be in place whenever thousands or tens of thousands of people gather in crowded spaces. When masses of people are involved, small problems are magnified. Logistics become a nightmare, and there is usually no calming people once they are spooked. 

Even at venues like music concerts where people are there to have a good time, certain conditions or a pivotal moment can change the course of an event and put peoples’ lives in danger. 

So far, what we know is that nine people died and hundreds were injured after a large crowd rushed the stage during the final set of the evening. With over 50,000 people in attendance, bodies pressed against each other, and it was difficult to get out. 

It’s still unclear if something at the back of the concert caused everyone to rush forward. There are reports of assaults on security officers on-site, but for now, criminal and other investigations are ongoing. 

Right now, media outlets are reporting rumors about local fire authorities being unable to access parts of the venue, concerns raised before the event, and other red flags. 

While we sort through the details, one thing is for certain. The dozens of people who went to the hospital and those who died as a result are left grieving after a horrible situation. 

A Miami Negligent Security Lawyer’s Advice on Large Crowds

If you ask a Miami negligent security lawyer, they’ll often point to several concerns around any large-scale event. 

Anytime you bring that many people together, there’s a risk of injury and the madness of crowds. Even with a significant security presence, it’s very challenging to control large crowds in a noisy venue. 

That, however, doesn’t remove liability from event organizers, and, in this case, the people in charge of the Astroworld Festival. 

Event organizers are responsible for planning for a variety of contingencies related to their event. 

For the most part, event planners worry about things like:

  • Entry/Exit People Flow
  • Sexual Assault
  • Theft
  • Assault
  • Slip and Fall Injuries
  • Access to Emergency Responders
  • Police Resources

At most concerts, people faint, they fight, and most disturbances are small and isolated to a few or more people. 

Many, though, are ill-prepared to manage the frenzy we saw in Houston. 

Crowd Control: Event Organizers & Venues Are Responsible for Patron Safety

Companies that host and manage events are responsible for creating a safe environment for attendees. Security planning is a key component of most large events, or at least it should be. 

We’re not only talking about security guards to check people in and search their bags, either. A holistic event security plan involves:

  • Proper Lighting
  • Emergency Incident Planning
  • Escalation Paths 
  • Coordination with State and Local Authorities
  • Identifying Proper Medical Resources
  • Badges and Area Access Control
  • Overall Venue Maintenance
  • Threats of Violence

Larger events and gatherings of high-profile groups make security planning even more of a priority. After all, security for your neighborhood weekly Bingo game likely isn’t going to be the same as for an NBA game. You have to balance security with risks. 

Crowd control is a major factor that event organizers and promotors must account for, evaluate and prepare for.

Part of measuring risk is considering what might go wrong and putting security plans in place to reduce the potential for problems. 

Astroworld Lawsuits Already Filed

There are already several lawsuits against event organizers, the talent, and other parties in the wake of this tragedy. 

This is only the beginning. In the coming days and weeks, we’ll likely see more people file lawsuits seeking damages for death, injury, emotional trauma, and other impacts from the incident. 

As of Wednesday, though, 46 lawsuits were filed concerning what happened. There will be more. Investigators are looking into:

  • What caused people to rush toward the stage
  • The presence of any bad actors
  • Security Response
  • Crowd control planning

The results of the investigation may point the finger at other parties and provide evidence of negligence and other misconduct among groups already under scrutiny.

Pursuing a Case with a Miami Negligent Security Lawyer

What can you sue for after you or someone you love is hurt in a similar situation? If you were there that day, what sort of legal recourse do you have?

Determining whether you have a case or not can be complicated, which is why you should seek advice from an experienced Miami negligent security lawyer. 

Here are some angles your legal team will pursue when seeking damages:

Medical Costs

People hurt at Astroworld went to the hospital, and some paid thousands of dollars in emergency room fees, surgery, and other related medical costs. Is that on them? It shouldn’t be! Liable parties that failed to put adequate security in place should pay for victim medical costs. That includes immediate care and long-term care. 

When you’re examining the cost of medical care, you need to account for future medical costs tied to any injuries related to the event. For example, if a leg injury requires years of physical rehabilitation, the negligent party should pay the costs.

An experienced lawyer knows how to calculate medical costs in the future and bake those costs into a personal injury case and settlement negotiations. 

Lost Income

If you’re a young person, you may not have a nice, salaried position that waits for you while you recoup from injuries. People injured at events sometimes lose their jobs when they are sidelined by an injury. Your negligent security lawsuit will likely include any income lost now and in the future. 

The same goes for professionals who can’t perform routine tasks and fulfill job requirements after an injury. Liable parties must pay for any lost potential income. 

Pain & Suffering

Imagine the feeling of thousands of people crushing against you as you struggle to get out from the crowds. It’s a terrifying feeling, and not something everyone gets over quickly. Your lawsuit or settlement will seek damages to pay for pain and suffering tied to the experience and any mental or physical health effects.

Wrongful Death

Of course, the worst thing that can happen is a death related to negligent security. When this happens, having a qualified Miami negligent security lawyer is critical to walk you through what to say and do for your case. 

Finding a Miami Negligent Security Lawyer

Astroworld was in Houston. However, Miami and other cities in Florida host large events all of the time. The weather, beaches, and infrastructure are big draws for sports, entertainment, and corporate events. 

When people go to an event, they often take their security for granted. They assume someone is taking care of it, and if anything does go wrong, there is a plan in place. 

That, we now know, is not always the case. The repercussions are severe, and peoples’ lives change forever after one day. 

Injury and wrongful death victims need an attorney who will pursue their cases aggressively and seek damages to cover past, current, and future costs tied to an incident.

Whenever possible, hire a legal team with expertise dealing with your specific situation. Whether your case relates to negligent security, crowd control (which is part of negligent security) or some other specialty, an experienced lawyer will know the process and will set realistic expectations around timelines. 

They’ll pursue your case against liable parties and their representatives, and they will be ready to fight in court if it comes to that. 

Find a lawyer who knows what they are doing, and has the resources to gather evidence and build a solid case. With the right legal team, you can win damages after an injury and hold those responsible accountable. 

Article by:

John Leighton

A nationally-recognized trial lawyer who handles catastrophic injury and death cases. He manages Leighton Law, P.A. trial lawyers, with offices in Miami and Orlando, Florida. He is President of The National Crime Victim Bar Association, author of the 2-volume textbook,Litigating Premises Security Cases, and past Chairman of the Association of Trial Lawyers of America’s Motor Vehicle, Highway & Premises Liability Section. Having won some of the largest verdicts in Florida history, Mr. Leighton is listed inThe Best Lawyers in America (14 years), “Top Lawyers” in the South Florida Legal Guide (15 years), Top 100 Florida SuperLawyer™ and Florida SuperLawyers (14 years), “Orlando Legal Elite” by Orlando Style magazine, and FloridaTrend magazine “Florida Legal Elite

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