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Can a Band Be Held Liable for Injuries to Attendees Sustained at Their Concert or Show?

When you attend a concert or show, you might have expectations of its nature based on the type of music. Some shows are sit down events, where the wildest thing a spectator may do is wave a lighter above his or her head. On the other end of the spectrum, some shows can get quite rowdy. Sometimes, spectators get in over their heads and sustain an injury.

When a show has a mosh pit, for example, some minor bruises are expected from participants, who may in fact be disappointed if they emerge fully unscathed. However, things can get out of hand when too many people become too riled up by their favorite music; this isn’t a new occurrence.

There have been a number of deaths around the world as a result of fans being crushed at concerts. In 1979, the British rock band The Who played a sold out show in Cincinnati. There were 20,000 people in attendance, and nobody had assigned seating or standing areas. Upon the opening of the doors, the excited crowd all rushed in at once. People fell, there were so many others around they couldn’t get up, and more fell on them. In the end, eleven people died at the show.

Injuries are even more common, from minor bruises to crushed bones. Overcrowding laws have attempted to protect people from the dangers of being crushed at shows, but some venues don’t take these laws seriously. In fact, the risk of being injured is sometimes part of how venues market themselves.

The Legal Details

While you might think the venue would be legally culpable for injuries sustained there, in some cases, fans pursue legal action against the band – and win. One of the reasons artists and bands can be held legally culpable for injuries and deaths at their shows is because of the precedence for such events.

Hundreds of people around the world have died at concerts, meaning no band or artist can reasonably claim they had no idea it was a risk. By agreeing to perform at a venue where security or safety measures were lax enough to result in injuries or deaths, the artist takes on responsibility. This can mean severe legal consequences in the event of a tragedy.

If you are a member of a band and you perform publicly in crowded venues, it may be a good idea to purchase liability insurance. This insurance can protect you legally if an attendee chooses to sue over injury or property damage sustained at one of your shows. Legally, these cases fall under the designation of tort law.

Liability insurance may seem silly, particularly to bands and artists who can’t claim the same level of fame as The Who. However, small time local artists are more likely to be playing in venues that are not necessarily zoned for the level of occupancy they support at shows. This makes the artist legally culpable for agreeing to play at an illegal venue.

Fault can be placed on the artist for something as simple as a microphone cord out of place. If an attendee at a show falls and injures him or herself, and perhaps brings others to the floor as well, the artist could be to blame for improperly setting up equipment. This litigation can be devastating to an artist financially.

Has somebody been injured at a show you’ve played in Los Angeles? Liability insurance may be for you. Grey Law can offer more advice on protecting yourself legally from tort litigation. Contact us to learn more.

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