It’s been almost two weeks since a violent crowd surge killed 10 young people and injured hundreds of others at Travis Scott’s Astroworld festival in Houston. There are still many questions to be answered, and one of the most asked is, “Will Travis Scott face criminal charges?”
Kurt Arnold, a partner at Arnold & Itkin, spoke to the Los Angeles Times about the possibilities of what consequences lie ahead for Travis Scott and Live Nation. “This is primarily a Live Nation problem, but Scott has a lot of accountability here… I think it’s likely that criminal charges will be brought. I’d be shocked if they weren’t. It has to rise to a standard of recklessness in Texas, you have to know of the risk and disregard it. If someone has too much to drink and kills somebody, there’s a similar standard here.”
The criminal investigation is still underway.
Since the crowd crush tragedy, there have been rampant reports and discussions about what happened and who is responsible. As these talks continue, and more news comes out about the mass casualty event, there are a few terms that keep circulating, and bear defining.
What Is Liability?
Liability refers to the damages that a business must pay to anyone within or outside the company under certain circumstances. A situation like the Astroworld tragedy could fall under premises liability, which explains that a property owner is responsible for making sure their property is safe for all those who enter it. Negligent security, for example, is a form of premises liability.
What Is Manslaughter?
Manslaughter is “recklessly caus[ing] the death of an individual,” according to penal code in the state of Texas. A second degree felony, a manslaughter charge in Texas could earn the defendant between 2 and 20 years in state prison with a $10,000 maximum fine. While it is similar to negligent homicide in that both charges are decided based on the lack of premeditation, manslaughter garners a more severe punishment.
What Is Negligent Homicide?
Negligent homicide, or more specifically, criminally negligent homicide, is an act in which a person causes the death of another by intentionally failing to help. Classified as a misdemeanor, negligent homicide may carry a prison term of up to seven years. If the death was caused by an intoxicated driver, however, the crime is upgraded to a felony.
What Is Assault?
Assault is the attempt to hurt someone physically, whether or not it was successful. It is specifically defined by the threat of bodily harm, as well as the clear and present ability to carry out that threat. Assault is usually paired with battery; the former being the intent, and the latter being the actual act of harm.
What Is Moral Responsibility?
Especially when used to discuss a crime, the definition of moral responsibility tends to be reliant upon four different conditions:
- Rationality: The person was of sound mind, and we therefore have reason to believe they understood what they were doing when committing the crime.
- Causality: The person accused of committing the crime was the one who performed the action (or did not act when they should have).
- Freedom: The person acted on their own free will; they chose to commit the crime and were not otherwise coerced into action.
- Knowledge: The person committed the crime understanding that there may be consequences.
With these conditions, the court may determine whether or not someone can be held responsible for their actions, and therefore, what level of punishment they should receive.
What is Negligence?
According to tort law, negligence involves any harm that may be caused by failing to act; in simpler terms, negligence assumes that people should act with care. Anyone who suffers loss due to another’s negligence may be able to sue for damages to compensate for that harm, which can include physical injury, economic loss, property loss, or mental distress.
What is Extreme Distress?
Extreme distress tends to be an emotional response to any type of harm, and it, in turn, can cause a person to physically harm themselves. Legally, an intentional infliction of emotional distress (IIED) is a civil tort that is defined by a person carrying out an extreme and outrageous act against their victim. Claiming this in a court of law, of course, requires a distinct definition of what constitutes extreme and outrageous conduct in relation to the specific incident.
What is Wrongful Death?
A wrongful death claim can, as the name suggests, be filed if a person’s death is caused by the wrongful conduct of a person or persons, whether willful or negligent. This type of lawsuit seeks compensation for the losses of the survivor(s). Wrongful death can be filed for all types of fatal accidents, and must be proven with these four elements:
- Negligence: The death must have been caused in part or wholly by the carelessness of the defendant’s actions.
- Breach of Duty: Medical personnel have a duty to their patients, just as drivers have a duty to keep their fellow drivers safe. It must be proven that the defendant owed a duty of care to the victim that was subsequently breached.
- Causation: It must be demonstrated or explained how the defendant caused the victim’s death with their negligence.
- Damages: Similar to a personal injury claim, an important step in a wrongful death lawsuit is generating qualifiable damages, such as hospitalizations, loss of income, the pain and suffering of the victim, or any funeral expenses.
Fighting for Justice for the Victims of Astroworld
You may have heard these terms in the coverage surrounding the Astroworld mass casualty event, and these and others will come up as the investigation continues. The concert injury lawyers at Arnold & Itkin are following it closely on behalf of the hundreds of Astroworld attendees we are proud to represent. Our firm has a history of fighting for justice for our clients and winning, and we are committed to holding those at fault for the Astroworld tragedy responsible. To learn more about how our lawyers can help you fight for your rights, contact us today at (888) 493-1629.