No Fee Guarantee
Hablamos Español

Death And Tragedy At The Indiana State Fair

By: William Bill Hurst

On Saturday, August 13, 2011, a strong wind toppled the a massive rigging and Indiana State Fair Stage Collapse - Carrying Injured Victimlighting system covering the Indiana State Fair stage causing it to fall onto the crowd at the Sugarland Concert, killing five people and injuring several men, women and children.  Many of the injured remain hospitalized Sunday,  some with life-threatening injuries.  See video of the collapse.

The Fair was cancelled Sunday as officials begin the process of determining what happened and respond to questions raised about whether the tragedy could have been prevented.  While Governor Mitch Daniels was “defensive” in his statement that he believed that this was a random act of Mother Nature, a sudden powerful wind gust, that he does not see how anyone could have foreseen.  Others question whether State Fair officials and State Police didn’t take this weather warning more seriously and specifically order an evacuation.  Concert-goers and other witnesses said an announcer at the concert did warn them of impending bad weather, but gave attendants conflicting accounts of whether there were emergency sirens — or a clear warning before the tragedy.  Indeed some fair workers said they never heard any warnings.  Groundskeeper Roger Smith stated that “It’s pathetic, it makes me mad.  Those lives could have been saved yesterday.”

The stage toppled at 8:49 p.m.  A timeline released by the Indiana State Police showed that the National Weather Service indicated as early as 8:00 that a storm with hail and 40 mph winds was expected to hit the fair grounds at 9:15.  Meteorologists indicate that it’s not unusual for strong winds to precede a thunderstorm like the one that was proceeding towards Indianapolis and the fairgrounds on Saturday evening.  As early as 7:00 p.m. the National Weather Service advised that a thunderstorm would be at the fairgrounds between 9:00 and 9:30 p.m.  The Weather Service advised that the storm would contain heavy rain, lightning, strong winds and 1” to 2” hail.  In areas around the fair grounds proceeding the approaching storm, the Weather Service had been predicting high winds for several hours prior to the collapse.

Indiana State Fair Stage CollapseThe cause of this accident is being investigated by Fair Officials, Indiana Occupational Health and Safety Administration, and State Fire marshal’s office.  The timeline of the weather warning above raises a serious question of why State Fair officials and State Police didn’t take these warnings more seriously and specifically order an evacuation before the storm hit.  Apparently around 8:45 p.m., Bob Rich, who is the program and director for the local country music station, took the stage for an announcement to fans about the approaching storm, that the State Police decide as a preliminary warning.  Apparently,  Rich told the fans that severe weather was  moving into the area but  many of the fans present at the concert indicated that they understood it might rain and the concert might be delayed, but apparently did not receive information or understand that a severe storm was approaching and that they should leave right away.

Had State Fair officials and Security immediately taken the approach that was taken at Conner Prairie based on these same weather alerts, this tragedy may never had occurred.  The same warnings from the National Weather Service caused a different reaction at Conner Prairie, which is about 15 miles north of the State Fair grounds.  On Saturday about 7,000 fans gathered for the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra at Conner Prairie.  An MC from a local radio station came out and addressed the crowd, indicating that severe storms were approaching and fans were told they should immediately head back to their vehicles.  This warning came at about 8:15 p.m.   The announcer indicated that Conner Prairie officials felt that they did not think it was safe for the crowd to remain.  He announced repeatedly that “You should return to your cars now”and the crowd dispursed.

Indiana State Fair Stage Collapse - Concert Stage PhotoThis sequence of events in the minutes before the stage rigging collapsed will be one of the issues that the investigating officials will examine.  There will be other issues including whether or not the structure that collapse had flaws or other construction defects.  No other structures at the fair were damaged by the gust of wind that apparently proceeded the storm.  The owner of the Company that provided the rigging, Mid-American Sound Corporation of Greenfield, is also investigating the collapse.  It was earlier reported that Mid-America Company did erect the structure but they may have used some of the Indiana state fair employees as laborers. This investigation is scheduled to take several weeks.

Indiana State Fair Stage CollapseSaturday’s accident was the worst at Indiana fair grounds since the 1963 explosion at the fairgrounds coliseum which killed 74 people in attendance.

If you or a loved one was involved in this trudge and you would like to speak with an experienced attorney contact Indianapolis Personal Injury Lawyer, William W. Hurst for a free consultation.

Contact Us For a Free Consultation Fill out the form below to receive a free and confidential initial consultation.

FAQs
Our Fees

It cost $0 up front to hire our office. We work on a contingency fee basis, which means you only pay us if we settle your case or obtain a verdict on your behalf.

If we’re unable to obtain a settlement of verdict for you we eat the costs we’ve advanced to litigate your case, which includes costs for ordering medical records, filing your case, hiring experts, deposing witnesses, and many other things.

If we do settle your case or obtain a verdict for you our standard rate is 33% of the settlement or verdict, plus reimbursement for the expense we’ve previously advanced. Our fee never increases like some personal injury attorneys, even if we have to take your case to trial.

Our Fees

It cost $0 up front to hire our office. We work on a contingency fee basis, which means you only pay us if we settle your case or obtain a verdict on your behalf.

If we’re unable to obtain a settlement of verdict for you we eat the costs we’ve advanced to litigate your case, which includes costs for ordering medical records, filing your case, hiring experts, deposing witnesses, and many other things.

If we do settle your case or obtain a verdict for you our standard rate is 33% of the settlement or verdict, plus reimbursement for the expense we’ve previously advanced. Our fee never increases like some personal injury attorneys, even if we have to take your case to trial.

Case Worth

As a victim, establishing damages, negotiating with the insurance company, or filing a lawsuit can be daunting and next to impossible without the assistance of an experienced lawyer. As a result, if you have been hurt in an accident, it is important that you contact an attorney as soon as possible to help you recover the compensation to which you are entitled under Indiana law.

Why Hire?

Choosing an attorney that has experience dealing with personal injury law is important to protect your legal rights. If you are trying to recover damages from a business or other type of organization, you can bet that they are going to have a legal team on their side.

Medical Bills

If you were injured by an accident you may be struggling to determine who is responsible for paying your medical bills and holding them accountable. Speak to an experienced personal injury lawyer at The Law Office of William W. Hurst and learn if we may be able to help.

Recovery

After you have been injured, you are entitled to compensation. The type and amount of compensation depends on the injury, bills, the cause of the injury, negligence/bad faith of the defendant, etc. The attorney you retain can also heavy influence your recovery through knowledge, experience, and dedication. Legal terms and phrases can be confusing even after you retain an attorney. If you have been injured, you may wonder how much your case is worth or what your “damages” are. The worse the injuries, the higher the value of the case and the greater need for an experienced attorney