The deadly events at the Travis Scott concert on November 5, 2021, at Astroworld in Houston, have shone a glaring light on some of the dangers of attending a crowded public event. One would think that venues that frequently hold large events would have safety protocols in place to prevent tragedies, but unfortunately, that is not always the case. By taking a look at what went wrong in this event, you may be able to keep yourself safer when attending large venues with massive crowds. If you have ever been injured at a public event, you may be able to receive compensation for your suffering.
Duty of care
In a personal injury case, you need to demonstrate that a person or business owed you a “duty of care” and that the person or business was negligent in that duty. In other words, the venue had a duty to take serious precautions, with appropriate procedures and safety standards in place, and to make sure those procedures and safety standards are enforced and followed. Negligence means that the venue either did not have these precautions in place, or they were not followed.
What went wrong at Astroworld
Let’s take a look at what went wrong at the Astroworld concert.
Insufficient safety staffing: There were multiple business and local government entities involved in the management of the facilities and the staffing of major events. While certain entities were concerned for weeks that there would not be enough security or emergency personnel at the concert, other entities were contracted to hire from only one source. In the end, many security staff who were hired received very little training or none at all.
Insufficient response to red flags: Injuries and breaches to the area started as early as 9am among the hundreds of fans who had already begun to assemble, the beginnings of a 50,000-person crowd. Injuries, breaches, and gate-rushing continued throughout the day.
Insufficient preparation for a known instigator: In other cities, Travis Scott had pled guilty to misdemeanors for reckless conduct and for encouraging fans to rush the stage.
Insufficient emergency planning: At the last Astroworld event in 2019 with a different artist, a stampede sent three people to the hospital. It is unclear whether the authorities reviewed or updated their safety protocols, or even if they approved an event operations plan that was drafted. Such a plan had procedures for various types of emergencies. However, this document does not address standing-room festival environments, which are the most dangerous.
Poor design: The venue was divided into only four large areas separated by barricades, but a majority of people were directed or pushed into one of the sections. There seemed to be no “blowout exit points” to allow for people to escape out the sides when the forward crush took place.
Ignoring of warning signs: There are defined warning signs that crowd crush is imminent, including people being unable to move and trying to escape the area. Security guards were extracting injured people throughout the day, but calls to police to dispatch did not begin until the crush worsened when Travis Scott took the stage.
In a personal injury lawsuit, besides breach of duty of care, you must be able to demonstrate to a court that you sustained injuries due to that breach. It is quite clear that the Astroworld event breached its duty, and hundreds of lawsuits by injured people have already been filed against the various entities as well as the entertainers. It is very likely, with this very strong evidence, that many people will receive significant compensation due to these tragic events.
If you are attending an outdoor public event, take precautions, especially at a standing event where these sorts of crowd surges can take place. Take the time to look for exit points and emergency personnel and situate yourself near them. In this way, you can increase your chances of enjoying the event without being injured.
If you have been injured at a public event in Florida and you believe your injuries were caused by the negligence of an individual or organization, contact me at (954) 448-7288 for a free consultation. As a Florida personal injury lawyer, I am committed to helping Florida residents throughout the state receive just and fair compensation to help them cope with the injuries they have sustained through someone else’s negligence.