Chicago Woman Killed in Indiana State Fair Stage Collapse — Raising Concerns of Premise Liability in Illinois

The weekend collapse of a concert stage at the Indiana State Fair took the life of a Chicago woman and at least four other people. It also injured at least 45 other visitors. The governor is referring to this incident as a “fluke.” Four were killed instantly when metal scaffolding fell on top of them. The fifth person was taken to the hospital and was later pronounced dead, according to IBTimes.A meteorologist for the National Weather Service in Indiana, Dan McCarthy, says that the wind that evening was much stronger than anticipated — with speeds in excess of 60 to 70 mph. The question in this situation is whether the wind was the sole cause of the accident, or if the weather combined with some type of negligence resulted in fatal injuries to the Chicago resident.

Our Illinois personal injury attorneys understand that outdoor events are very popular for residents and visitors during this time of year. This is also a time when we see more injuries at a number of local parks. The Chicago Park District offers a number of events for us to enjoy throughout summer. Event organizers have a huge responsibility when putting on these events — it’s their responsibility to ensure the safety of visitors. Event organizers are responsible for providing adequate security, crowd control and safe facilities. When corners are cut and the proper safety measures are not executed, deadly accidents can occur.

After the Indiana accident, the remainder of the weekend’s activities were canceled. Officials reported that the fair was expected to resume on Monday. There will be a service for the victims of the accident held on August 21st.

“I am so moved,” said Jennifer Nettles of Sugarland. “Moved by the grief of those families who lost loved ones. Moved by the pain of those who were injured and the fear of their families. Moved by the great heroism as I watched so many brave Indianapolis fans actually run toward the stage to try and help lift and rescue those injured. Moved by the quickness and organization of the emergency workers who set up the triage and tended to the injured.”

Investigations into the accident have not been completed. One of the people killed in the accident was one of the workers employed by the staging company. The Indiana Department of Labor is looking into the accident because the employer did not report the death of the employee. Under Illinois law, a company has eight hours to report a job-related fatality to a 24-hour state hot-line number. According to 6News, Indiana state law does not require that building inspectors check out that type of stage’s rigging.

There are any number of instances when safety is the responsibility of the property or business owner. When one of these parties fails to keep visitors safe, a premise liability claim can result. Premise liability claims can be the result of a number of incidents, including improper signage, slip and fall, improperly maintained equipment, falling objects or negligent maintenance. Even if a person is partially responsible for their own accident, the responsibility may still fall on the property owner if they have failed to provide adequate security or have not addressed other potentially dangerous conditions.

Landlords also have responsibility. They are responsible for keeping hazards at bay for tenants and visitors. Collapsing porches have been a problem in Chicago and are often the fault of landlords, who have failed to properly maintain their properties.

If you’ve experienced an injury at a musical concert, a fair, at a local park or on any property and are considering filing a premise liability claim, you should do so in a timely manner. Waiting too long to take action could result in the loss or deterioration of vital evidence or of your ability to make a claim.

If you have been injured in a accident due to a property owner’s negligence, contact the premises liability attorneys at Abels & Annes for a free consultation. Call (312) 475-9596 to speak directly to a lawyer now.

More Blog Entries:

National Safety Months Aims to Reduce Risks of Slip and Fall Accidents in Chicago and Elsewhere, Chicago Personal Injury Lawyer Blog, June 19, 2011

Chicago trip and fall lawyers file DuPage County lawsuit, Chicago Personal Injury Lawyer Blog, May 31, 2011

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