Recently, a federal appellate court issued a written opinion in a personal injury case illustrating an important concept that frequently arises in Indiana car accident cases. The case presented the court with the opportunity to discuss whether the plaintiff’s wrongful death case could survive the defendants’ motion for summary judgment. Specifically, the issue presented to the court was whether the defendants controlled the area where the accident occurred.
The Facts of the Case
According to the court’s opinion, the plaintiff was killed in a DUI accident while attending the South by Southwest (SXSW) music festival. The SXSW festival takes place each year in Austin, Texas, and includes numerous venues which are spread across the city. As a result, the concert organizers applied for a special use permit allowing the closure of certain roads during the festival. The area where the accident later occurred was included in the areas that the concert organizers requested be closed.
Evidently, the use permit was granted, and as a condition, the city required that “all traffic controls must be provided in accordance with the approved traffic control plan.” Organizers placed barriers around the closed portion of the street, and a uniformed police officer was placed near the intersection to keep watch.
The court explained that, in the early morning hours of March 13, 2014, police attempted to stop a driver for a minor traffic infraction a few blocks away from the closed area. The driver fled from police and drove through the barriers, into a crowd of people. The plaintiff was one of several pedestrians who was killed in the accident. It was later discovered that the driver was intoxicated at the time. The plaintiff filed a wrongful death case against the concert organizers, claiming that they should have used more substantial barriers to prevent traffic from accessing the closed pedestrian-only area.
The Court’s Opinion
The court rejected the plaintiff’s claim and dismissed the case. The court explained that the defendant concert organizers never assumed control of the intersection where the accident occurred, even by obtaining the special use permit. The court explained that as a condition of the permit, the defendants were required to provide traffic controls that were “in accordance” with the traffic plan that was devised by the city. Thus, the court determined that the city retained control of the area in question. Because the defendants were determined not to have controlled the area, the court held that they could not be liable for the plaintiff’s wrongful death.
Have You Been Injured in an Indiana Car Accident?
If you or a loved one has recently been injured in an Indiana car accident, the dedicated Indiana personal injury lawyers at the law firm of Parr Richey Frandsen Patterson Kruse can help you obtain fair compensation for your injuries. We represent Indiana accident victims in all types of personal injury claims, and have a consistently successful track record. To learn more about how we can help you recover for the injuries you or your family member has sustained, call 888-532-7766 today.
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