More than 70 victims of the 2016 crowd crush at Falls Festival will receive a share of almost $7 million, following a settlement approval from the Victorian Supreme Court.
It puts an end to the almost four-year long saga involving dozens of seriously injured punters who attended Falls Festival in Lorne.
The 77 participants of the class action suffered various injuries, which in some cases were permanent, after being caught in a stampede while leaving the Grand Theatre.
About a third of those victims, who suffered the most serious injuries, will receive compensation of « hundreds of thousands of dollars » according to Maddens Lawyers’ Kathryn Emeny.
Maddy describes the moment she feared for her life during the human stampede at Lorne in 2016.
« The compensation payments will enable group members to look to, and plan for, the future. In respect of some of the larger claims, we anticipate the compensation payment will be life changing, » Ms Emeny said.
Ms Emeny said it was fair to say every participant in the class action was still dealing with the incident « in one way or another », after almost four years.
« These were young people in their late teens or early twenties… this horrific event really derailed their lives. Each group member is continuing to deal with that. »
Lead Plaintiff Michela Burke, who suffered a significant brachial plexus injury in the crush, said she was glad the legal process was over.
« I am relieved that the matter is close to finalisation and we can finally begin to put the crowd crush behind us, » Ms Burke said.
Maddy, who was also a participant in the class action, told Hack she was « overjoyed » when she heard the news but says the emotional scars from the incident have been long lasting.
« I am happy with it. It does reflect the pain and suffering that occurred. But it is just money as well. The most important thing that I’ve been trying to focus on is my my own mental state… just working through those things mentally. »
In a statement, a spokesperson from Falls Festival told Hack they hoped the settlement brought some comfort to the victims.
« We hope that the settlement will bring some relief and closure for all of the participants.
« We also want to assure the participants and all those who attend our events, that health and safety is our number one priority. We care deeply about the welfare of our patrons, and are continually improving and adapting our safety protocols on an ongoing basis. »
The crush happened as punters left the Grand Theatre, where the DMAs had been playing, on December 30 in 2016. Many were on their way to see London Grammar play at a nearby stage.
Punters at the time told Hack that people « were covered in blood » and described the scene as one where they were « seriously fearing for our lives ».
In December 2018, Ash Sounds Pty Ltd, which runs Falls Festival, admitted their actions were to blame for the crowd crush, and admitted that the victims suffered injury, loss and damage due to their breach of duty.
Following the incident at Lorne in 2016, Falls Festival said they were « shattered » to learn their punters had been hurt, and apologised for what happened.
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