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Indiana State Fair Tragedy Has Many Wondering: Are Outdoor Concerts Safe?

Earlier this month, thousands of people were horrified to watch the main stage at the Indiana State Fair collapse in the face of strong winds. After the roof and scaffolding fell, emergency workers found four people dead in the accident and dozens more seriously injured. Three more victims would succumb to their injuries in the following days.

As time passes after the tragedy, and after two more similar stage collapses took place at other summer concert venues, many wonder whether the stage collapse accident could have been prevented – and whether or not Indiana state and federal regulations are tough enough and specific enough to prevent similar accidents at concerts and events in the future.

While some believe that the stage collapse was simply a “freak accident” or a “fluke” caused by abnormally high gusts of wind, others are not so sure that the accident wasn’t preventable. Currently, there is no law that requires stages like the one at the Indiana State Fair to be inspected for safety issues – even though many other permanent and temporary structures used by the public must be checked for hazards. And while some think that wind did indeed cause the collapse, some are noting that structures are required to withstand gusts of wind up to 90 miles per hour. The gusts recorded at the concert venue at the time of the accident were clocked at 60-70 miles per hour.

Do Indiana state officials think that stricter rules and regulations for concert stages are needed? Governor Mitch Daniels has said that he may support some type of law that requires large, portable stages to be inspected before use, but stressed that there would not be enough resources or inspectors to look at every stage put up across the state. Other state lawmakers urged the public not to rush to conclusions until the investigations into the cause are complete. Currently, the accident is being investigated by the Indiana Occupational Health and Safety Administration and the Indiana state fire marshal's office, among other organizations.

Were you or your family harmed in the Indiana State Fair stage collapse? Speak with an Indianapolis personal injury attorney today about your case and the best options for moving forward.
James R. Keller
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Partner at Keller & Keller

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