People are fascinated with truck and automobile racing. Sporting events take place in Wisconsin on a regular basis, and fans are excited to attend and watch their favorite driver or player head to the winner's circle. The thought of a fatal accident or personal injury due to some kind of negligence on another's part is the farthest thing from their minds.
In 2010, this enthusiastic participation by fans at an off-road desert race in another state was tragically cut short. A competing truck driver lost control, and the pickup became airborne before landing in the crowd. Eight people were killed, and dozens were injured.
Subsequently, several lawsuits were filed in that state against the event organizer and others in an effort to hold them accountable for alleged negligent and reckless oversight of the race. The government bureau within the Department of Interior that controls the desert acreage was included as a defendant. It was alleged that the bureau failed in its "mandatory duty" to ensure organizers clearly marked separate spectator areas. It was further alleged that the race was understaffed with no emergency medical service on site. Reports are that emergency personnel didn't arrive for about 30 minutes.
The stressful passage of time for the victims and their families concluded with a settlement value of $5.8 million. Payment will be split between the government bureau, in the sum of $4.8 million, and the event organizers. The company's insurance policy has a $1 million limit.
No amount of money can ever replace the loss of a loved one or lessen the pain and suffering of the injured. Compensation can only relieve some of the burdens caused by the accident. A positive consequence that will benefit Milwaukeeans, as well as attendees of events anywhere, is the correction of mistakes made at this race and better enforcement of public safety precautions.
Personal injury or wrongful death situations deserve careful consideration, evaluation and guidance if there are medical expenses or future security issues at stake. A step-by-step approach to determining the facts and exploring solutions will contribute to an acceptable recovery.
Source: Los Angeles Times, "$5.8-million settlement reached in deadly 2010 off-road racing crash" Rick Rojas, Dec. 18, 2013