The family of a 23-year-old victim, who died when a stage collapsed at the Indiana State Fair in Indianapolis, has filed a lawsuit against Indiana and the companies who organized the concert, claiming recklessness and gross negligence. This suit follows another filed by the same attorneys for the family of a 42-year-old woman who was killed, and her injured partner. The first suit was filed in LaPorte County, but was moved to Indianapolis.
Gross negligence occurs when a person or entity disregards the safety of others. A party can be considered negligent even if natural causes are involved. In this case, the fair and concert organizers allegedly did not warn concertgoers of an impending storm, which caused the stage to collapse with wind gusts up to 70 mph. The attorneys filing the case also allege that the stage was not inspected and was not strong enough to withstand high winds.
If gross negligence is found, a plaintiff may be awarded punitive damages, as well as general damages. Punitive damages are different than general damages in that they are awarded to the plaintiff as a punishment to the defendant and a deterrent to acting in a similar manner in the future. The plaintiff's attorney in this lawsuit thinks $50 million would be fair compensation to the parents for the loss of their child.
Gross negligence can occur in many types of cases. An example of gross negligence in a medical malpractice case would be a doctor removing an incorrect limb or organ, or leaving a piece of medical equipment in the body during surgery. Injury or death can also be attributed to gross negligence in auto accidents. If the defendant was intoxicated or texting while driving, gross negligence may be charged. Companies can be charged with gross negligence for requiring employees to use tools that are known to be defective or for knowingly renting out faulty equipment to consumers. Professionals can also be negligent if an injury occurs when they attempt to perform their duties while under the influence of drugs or alcohol.