What to do if you get injured at a public event


Almost everyone has been to a public event at some time or another in their lifetimes. Whether it’s free or ticketed, events take place in all sorts of places for all sorts of reasons. While health and safety laws are there to protect us from unnecessary danger and injury, there are unfortunately times when people do get injured. In fact, injuries at events are more common than you might think.

Health and safety at events is taken very seriously by law. In most cases, event organisers will carry out proper risk assessments to highlight any potential problems and make sure attendees are protected from any dangers and potential injury. In the most part, event organisers are sticklers for health and safety, because they want to avoid being sued for negligence – complying with the laws that personal injury solicitors would be basing a case around, in the case that they are not adhered to.

Injuries you could sustain at a public event

While serious injuries at events are less common, there are many instances when people attending events suffer minor injuries. On rare occasions, injuries can be serious or even fatal.

The Hillsborough disaster where 96 football fans lost their lives was a tragic reminder of how things can go wrong. A 27-year battle finally saw justice for the families in 2016 when a jury at Warrington Magistrate’s Court ruled the victims were unlawfully killed. The victims were crushed when police failed to respond adequately to overcrowding.

Alton Towers theme park in Staffordshire was prosecuted following the 2015 accident on The Smiler rollercoaster where a car crashed into an empty one in front of it. Two young women had to have both legs amputated.

Hopefully, lessons have been learned and such terrible accidents don’t happen again. While tragedies such as these are thankfully rare, many minor injuries occur at all manner of events up and down the country. In many cases, injuries are the cause of an oversight by the event organiser and could have been prevented. For example, a sprained ankle from tripping over a tent rope that wasn’t clearly marked.

Crush injuries as a result of overcrowding are one of the most common types of injuries to occur at public events. Injuries suffered from overcrowding include broken bones, cracked ribs, dislocated shoulders and even punctured lungs. Other injuries occur from things being thrown at gigs (either from the stage, or by other members of the crowd). Another relatively common occurrence is food poisoning from street food stalls at an event. Other accidents at events include:

  • Pedestrians hit by vehicles
  • Veranda collapse
  • Trips, slips and falls due to poorly maintained and unlit walkways
  • Flying debris at sporting events
  • Signs falling on patrons
  • Mosh pit injuries

Rules for organisers

There are very strict rules for anyone organising a public event. Not only are there licensing laws, there are a whole host of other rules that event organisers must follow to ensure the safety of their patrons. Permits, adequate signage, availability of free water, adequate lighting, proper toilet facilities and the correct level of security are a few of the safety requirements event organisers need to adhere to.

Largescale events require a great deal of planning and organisation to ensure everything goes smoothly. Event organisers also have to ensure they have thought through all manner of contingency plans in case something goes wrong. If there is inadequate protection or planning, things can escalate very quickly as was seen in the case of the tragic Hillsborough disaster.

How to best experience an event safely

Going to any event is generally an exciting and uplifting experience. Seeing your favourite band or watching your favourite sports team win a match are pleasurable experiences. For most people, these are life enriching experiences. Sharing joy in a huge crowd can even be positively life-changing.

All public events will have strict rules for patrons. It is imperative that you read these rules before going to any event. If you haven’t adhered to the rules, and you do suffer an injury, the event organiser may say you are partially or fully responsible for your injuries.

What should you do if you are injured at an event?

In the first instance seek medical assistance and alert the event organisers. It is up to the event organiser to keep you safe and respond quickly to any incidents that affect public safety. If possible take the details of anyone who saw what happened and could potentially act as a witness.

Can I seek compensation?

Just because you’ve been injured at an event it doesn’t automatically mean you can make a claim for compensation. If you have suffered an injury at a public event, it’s a good idea to seek proper legal advice about your potential claim.

What can I claim for?

If you have a solid case for claiming compensation as a result of an injury at an event, you may be able to claim for medical bills, lost salary, treatments and rehabilitations, as well as compensation for pain and suffering.


Many things can go wrong at a public gathering, so always stick to the event guidelines and make sure you read the small print regarding event rules before you go. Should you find yourself in the unfortunate event of experiencing an injury, report the accident to the organisers as soon as possible and seek medical advice. Take the contact details of any witnesses. Write a detailed description of what happened as soon as you are able. Seek legal advice as soon as possible and keep receipts for any medical care you receive as a result of your injury.


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