The fans, not Sugarland, are to blame for the injuries they sustained during last summer's stage collapse at the Indiana State Fair.
This assertion appears in court documents filed in response to a lawsuit accusing the band of negligence. Victims of the Sugarland stage collapse claim the band acted negligently when it failed to stop the concert despite 70 mph winds and a severe weather warning.
But the band's attorneys believe that it was the fans who acted negligently when they "failed to exercise due care for their own safety."
Sugarland's fans are a bit shocked by the blame game, according to the Associated Press. But the statement needs to be considered within the broader context of the law.
In Indiana, negligence cases are decided on a comparative fault basis. The jury is asked to allocate a percentage of the blame to each party. These percentages dictate how much, and if, the plaintiff can recover damages.
If a plaintiff is found to be more than 50% at fault, he recovers nothing. If he is less than 50% at fault, he recovers only a portion of the overall damages. For example, if the Sugarland stage collapse plaintiffs are found to be 40% at fault for their injuries, they will only be able to recover 60% of the jury award. If they're 51% at fault, they recover nothing.
Sugarland's attorneys blame the fans only because doing so potentially lessens the financial burden on the band. If they can prove the fans are more than 50% responsible, the band will be free from any obligation to pay.
The attorneys aren't trying to insult the persons injured in the Sugarland stage collapse; they're just trying to defend their clients in the best way possible.
- Sugarland to Blame for Indiana Stage Collapse? (Chicago Personal Injury Law Blog)
- Negligence (FindLaw)
- Indiana State Fair, Union Fined for Stage Collapse (FindLaw's Injured)