Maddens Lawyers lodges class action for people injured in Falls Festival crowd crush

WARRNAMBOOL law firm Maddens Lawyers has launched a class action for more than 60 people injured in a crowd crush at last year’s Falls Festival.

Nineteen people were taken to hospital with broken bones and other serious injuries and dozens more were hurt when a stampede broke out between acts in the Grand Theatre at the Falls Music and Arts Festival at Lorne on December 30.

Maddens Lawyers Warrnambool has launched a class action for the people injured in the crowd crush last year.

Maddens Lawyers Warrnambool has launched a class action for the people injured in the crowd crush last year.

A class action was lodged in the Victorian Supreme Court on Wednesday.

Maddens senior partner Brendan Pendergast said about 65 people are on the statement of claim, but since news broke of the action, more people have come forward.

"Everyone we've spoken to reports being absolutely terrified," he said on Thursday.

"I think many people are thinking they could've potentially lost their lives."

People paid anywhere from $249 to $468 plus booking fees to go to the four-day camping festival.

Mr Pendergast said when people hand over that amount of money, they expect to be in a safe environment.

The claim alleges Ash Sounds Pty Ltd, trading as The Falls Music and Arts Festival, restricted the exit from the theatre, causing the crush.

The claim says timetabling caused a rush of people to leave, and an adequate risk assessment was not done.

At the time, organisers blamed the incident on a "confluence of events" and said an investigation would be done and released.

On Thursday, co-producer Jessica Ducrou said in a statement the festival was co-operating with a WorkSafe investigation.

"We have had regular contact with affected patrons since the incident and are providing ongoing assistance," she said.

"However, given the matter is as of today the subject of legal proceedings, we are not in a position to comment further." Ms Ducrou confirmed Falls Festival will "definitely be going ahead in 2017.”

In January The Standard reported that Warrnambool woman Rochelle Greene believed she was going to die as she was crushed and trampled in the stampede.

Ms Greene said she felt like she was drowning after being trapped on the ground at the Grand Theatre stage as countless people stood and fell on top of her.

“I was under for four or five minutes. I think I only got a breath maybe every 40 seconds and I thought I would suffocate. I was just waiting for the moment where I wouldn’t get the next breath,” she said. 

““People kept piling up. I was on the ground on my back,” Ms Greene said. “It just got worse and worse.”


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