Many questions arising from the stage collapse at the Indiana State Fair earlier this month will likely remain unanswered in the weeks and months to come.
Investigations into tragic accidents of this scale often take months to complete. And as months go by during investigations it not uncommon for evidence to be lost – which makes it more difficult for those who have suffered to receive compensation for losses in a personal injury or wrongful death lawsuit.
For the families whose loved ones were killed and for those who were injured when the stage was toppled by high winds, preservation of evidence is a real concern. According to a recent article in the Post-Tribune, one of the families of the deceased went before a LaPorte County judge earlier this week to request that the wreckage of the stage be preserved.
Often after an accident, accident sites are preserved so that proper investigation can occur. In this case, the stage wreckage still remains exactly as it landed the night of the collapse, but the victims of the collapse are concerned that the state cannot be trusted to preserve the evidence throughout the investigation.
On Tuesday afternoon, a LaPorte County judge issued a two-page ruling that allowed for a “rather limited” preliminary injunction requiring the state and Indiana State Fair Commission to follow certain protocols, as designated by the outside engineering firm hired by the state to investigate the collapse.
This court order essentially orders the state to preserve the wreckage, ensuring that the accident scene is not altered until all proper investigation has taken place. The preservation order is a positive development, and underscores the importance of accident victims acting promptly to ensure that their legal rights are protected.