Enjoying a large public gathering usually means a time of fun, music, shopping, or sports. However, when hundreds or thousands of people are packed together in one place, crowd surges can bring injury and even death. The real dangers of crowd surges may surprise you, and if you have been hurt in one, you need to understand your legal options.
Depending on the circumstances, you may be eligible to seek financial compensation. With the help of a skilled Dallas premises liability lawyer, you can hold the owners, operators, and / or instigators of an event where large crowds surged accountable for negligence and / or intentional actions. You have legal rights that must be protected.
Where Do Crowd Surges Happen?
By their nature, festivals, religious gatherings, concerts, and sporting events often collect extremely large numbers of people into a small space. Holiday shopping rushes are also opportunities for crowd surges when hundreds of people try to squeeze into a few shop doors. While some consider the crush of a crowd to be “part of the experience,” it can quickly turn into a terrifying mass that shoves, crushes, and tramples the people inside.
Crowd surges happen when some event triggers the majority of individuals to move forward or back quickly. For example, if a popular performer takes the stage at a concert, most attendees will rush up to get closer to their idol. Crowd surges may even happen in waves, going forward and back until the energy becomes more frantic.
People may try to exit the crowd but find it difficult to fight the press of others on all sides. This can cause them to panic when they realize they are caught and unable to break free. Escaping a crowd surge can be much like trying to swim out of a rip tide current in the ocean, except a crowd is even more unpredictable than the sea.
Key Components of a Crowd Surge
Crowd surges often happen when people are rushing to get through the gates of an event, enter through doors at a store, or when they are in a standing-room-only environment. These situations contain the two key components that lead to injury in a crowd surge:
- Density: When many people are tightly packed into a small space, moving and even breathing can become difficult. People may panic and try to run away, with little room to maneuver. Their panic can quickly spread, creating a ripple effect, crushing people in the middle or against walls.
- Trigger: The second component is a triggering event that causes the crowd to suddenly shift. This could be that panicked person looking to escape, or it could be rain, the start of a performance, or the opening of shop doors for a big sale. Other causes could be fights or disagreements within the crowd, especially if a weapon is involved.
Injuries You Can Suffer in a Crowd Surge
When you drown in the ocean, you inhale water and cannot breathe. A crowd surge can cause numerous kinds of injuries, including asphyxiation, which is the inability to breathe. Other common injuries include:
- Being crushed
- Broken bones
- Internal organ damage
- Puncture wounds from fences or barriers
- Traumatic brain injuries (TBIs)
No matter your size, you are at risk for harm during a crowd surge. Smaller individuals, such as children, are often injured the worst or even killed.
While there is usually no intention behind people’s actions during a crowd surge, that doesn’t mean that no one is responsible for your injuries or a wrongful death.
Who Is Responsible When You Are Injured in a Crowd Surge?
Those who own property are responsible for maintaining a safe environment for visitors and patrons. When they are aware of a hazard and do not take steps to prevent injury, they can be held accountable in a premises liability lawsuit. Those who were hurt or the surviving family members of those who were killed can pursue compensation for damages they suffered.
Additionally, the promoters, performers, and event organizers can be found liable and named in a lawsuit. Your personal injury attorney can investigate your case and identify all those who are responsible for your injuries. They will collect, analyze, and present evidence to show you deserve compensation for the defendant’s negligence.
Property owners owe ticketed visitors to events a duty of care in Texas. Your attorney can examine your case and advise you on the best way to proceed to hold them accountable when they fail to correct hazardous conditions.
Preventing Crowd Surges
Crowd surge is preventable, and those who hold these large events can avoid problems by taking crucial steps, such as:
Managing Crowds Properly
Having enough security and crowd management personnel can control the number of people going in and out, as well as prevent those without a ticket from entering. Bag searches can slow down the flow of people into an event, allowing patrons to spread out more easily once they are inside.
Providing Effective Barriers
Crowd separation by using barriers between sections can prevent unexpected surges in standing-room-only venues. Barriers should be able to withstand normal crowd movement and allow paths for security or emergency personnel to get into different areas of the venue.
Providing Adequate Security
Event owners and promoters must ensure there is a large enough security team to manage the crowds and prevent surges. At large concerts or sporting events, it is easy to underestimate staffing and provide too few people to patrol the sections. When coupled with pressure at the entrances and poor crowd sectioning with barriers, inadequate security can lead to trampling and deaths when patrons are triggered to surge.
Using Crowd Spotters
Crowd spotters watching from high around the perimeter can alert security to handle a fight or emergency. They can also notify the performer or an announcer, who can stop the performance and get the crowd to calm down.
Learn More About Your Rights in a Crowd Surge Case
At Wolf Law, PLLC, we are committed to protecting your rights and ensuring you secure the justice you deserve. Enjoying a concert or other event should not end in pain and suffering. When you have been hurt due to the dangers of crowd surges, you need experienced legal representation for going up against those responsible.
Contact us to schedule a free consultation with our experienced Dallas premises liability attorneys today.