Questions are swirling around when ticket-buyers will receive refunds from the disastrous music festival.
While many, especially people who bought a ticket but didn’t ultimately attend the Houston concert, may be clamoring to get their money back, some legal experts are warning that if those who paid for admission seek a refund they may be forgoing any opportunity to participate in a class-action lawsuit.
"Completely not able to fend for themselves and be at the mercy of piles of bodies. It was pretty traumatizing to witness," said lawsuit plaintiff Rainier Villaverde about his concert experience, according to KRIV.
That trauma holds true for many who attended the November 5 festival, which resulted in the deaths of 10 people after the crowd rushed the stage in chaos. Attorney Rick Ramos, who has filed a lawsuit against Travis Scott and concert organizers, says that while a ticket refund may sound nice on the surface, concertgoers may want to read the fine print before accepting.
"If you accept the refund and you have not yet filed a lawsuit, what you may be doing is releasing the wrongdoer from any future lawsuit or action or claim against them," he said
KRIV legal analyst Chris Tritico echoes that sentiment.
"If you suffered actual damages, you were injured in the stampede, then it’s probably better to just not take the refund because you don’t want to take the risk of giving up actual damages," he explained.
Ramos adds that if Scott faces charges for encouraging the stampede, like he has during previous concerts, that could mean more attendees have claims for emotional distress.
"You don’t need injuries for an intentional infliction of emotional distress claim. So now you have a brand new grouping of plaintiffs who are victims that have been impacted now by taking a refund," he said.
Investigators are still trying to determine exactly what happened at Astroworld, but the incident occurred when “the crowd surged towards the stage, crushing those at the front who were unable to escape,” local fire chief Sam Peña told CNN.
The incident broke out just after 9 p.m. CST on November 5. An estimated 50,000 people attended the sold-out event at NRG Park.
Video recordings of the event shows Travis on-stage looking confused as an ambulance with flashing lights moves into the densely packed crowd.
Concert-goers reportedly rushed the stage in an effort to escape the chaos, causing panic, while the situation worsened when security personnel were overwhelmed, police say.