Music festivals are almost a rite of passage for people young and old. With an event for lovers of just about every genre, they are a highly-anticipated highlight of the year for most people. Months of preparation go into each event, from purchasing camping gear to choosing the artists you want to see, and it should be a joyful time built around making lifelong memories.
However, with so many people in one place, things can (and sometimes do) take a turn for the worst. There have recently been some devastating reports following music festivals in Australia and around the world.
At the end of 2016, party-goers at Falls Festival in Lorne were part of a dangerous crowd stampede, in which at least 80 people were injured. Some individuals were crushed, while others were struggling to grasp air. More recently, in 2019, a truck at Rainbow Serpent Festival rolled into a tent that contained three people, who were all seriously injured and sent to hospital.
Amongst all the fun, there are risks associated with any public event. u-Law has put together a guide on what to do if you’re injured during a music festival and whether you’ll be able to claim for that injury.
Common injuries and illnesses from music festivals
The crowded environment, nerve-wracking toilets and usage of alcohol and other drugs means risks are high at music festivals. Some of the most common injuries that occur include:
- Equipment falling on people or vehicles harming people
- Knocks to the head – or even concussion – caused by bumping into people in busy crowds
- Bruising, cuts and grazes
- Injuries from glasses being thrown, or standing on glass on the ground
- Trips in public toilets
- Trips on walkways that aren’t clear
- Deafness and other hearing issues
- Broken or fractured bones
- Food poisoning, diarrhoea and other illnesses
- Injuries related to assault
If you’ve experienced any of the above or have another serious injury from a music festival, read on to understand the best way to react.
Steps to take if you’re injured at a festival or concert
Responding timely and appropriately to an incident will give you the best chance of getting the reimbursement you deserve. Follow these 5 steps if something goes wrong while you’re out in the field trying to have a good time.
- Make a note of what happened
Write down who or what injured you. It’s best to do this as soon as the accident happened, if possible, as you may forget vital details if you wait a few days. This will work against you in any legal dispute. Make notes about location and time, as well as the exact details of how you got the injury.
- Find out who is liable
You need to know who the defendants will be, which could be the event organisers or the government, depending on where the event is held. A personal injury lawyer like u-Law can help you with this if you’re not sure.
- Gather the evidence
Try to do this before you leave the festival grounds. Try to get surveillance footage or speak to witnesses, who may have captured the incident on their camera phones.
- Contact a personal injury lawyer
A lawyer will be able to help you calculate damages to make an estimate around how much you’ll receive. This will take into account lost earnings, pain and suffering, and medical expenses incurred as a result of the accident.
- Make the claim if you choose to go ahead
Your lawyer can advise you if you have a good case and can help you lodge a claim so you can start the journey of putting the event behind you.
Can you claim for your injury?
Liability and the chance to make a claim both depend on the circumstances of your accident or illness at an event, and things aren’t always clear cut. Here are the details that matter when something goes wrong at a festival.
Slips and falls
As the most common type of injury at a music festival, trips, slips and falls can range from minor to fatal. Generally, the cause is an unsafe floor surface, which may be wet and slippery or have obstacles in pathways. Staff at food and drinks stalls should be trained in health and safety, and should immediately clean up spills or clearly display a hazard sign.
If you slipped and hurt yourself because of the negligence of someone else, you may be able to file a claim against the company involved.
If you’ve been crushed by another person or equipment, you may have incurred damage that isn’t visible. This internal damage is inflicted on things like organs, muscles and bones and can have long-term consequences.
It’s the responsibility of the event organisers to ensure areas are not overcrowded and equipment is set up safely. Emergency exits and barriers should be used to control crowd numbers. If you’ve been seriously injured because of crushing, you may be eligible to a significant payout.
Food poisoning can be the result of undercooked food, badly-stored food, cross-contamination, uncleanliness and poor personal hygiene from people touching the food.
Minor doses of food poisoning will go away within a week or so, but more severe cases can require hospital treatment. Make a note of everything you’ve eaten over the last 48 hours and make sure you visit your doctor as soon as possible. It can be difficult to make a successful food poisoning claim, as it’s hard to identify the source of the poisoning. Speak to anyone that ate at the same food establishment as you to find out if they had any symptoms, as this could help shed light on where it was contracted from.
For more information and to take the best possible approach following an injury at a music festival, book an appointment with u-Law.