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You Need to Read the Fine Print on Post-Disaster Refunds

When people learned that hundreds were injured and eight people lost their lives at Astroworld Music Festival after crowd surging led to a mass casualty event, Travis Scott announced he would provide full refunds to all attendees. However, numerous Twitter users have urged attendees not to sign the refund form as it contains a waiver of your right to sue, which would disqualify individuals from seeking damages in court against Live Nation, Travis Scott, et al.

Is that true? Until our firm sees the exact language of the refund contract, we can’t say for certain. Is it likely? Yes—and we’ll explain why.

How Companies Get Survivors to Sign Away Their Rights

In the wake of a tragedies, at-fault companies focus on one thing: financial triage. So, the company’s lawyers and PR teams do everything possible to limit liability, lower costs, and stop litigation. The tricky part? They still want to look like the “good guy”, since they’re under a great deal of public scrutiny.

The typical industry move—whether it’s offshore drilling, manufacturing, logistics, or event planning—is to offer something to potential litigants in exchange for waiving the right to future damages: a small settlement, a refund, or a replacement. When our firm represented crew members of the Deepwater Horizon in 2010, many of the crew reported being taken from the scene of the disaster, put up in a hotel, and given a contract to sign. No doctor, no lawyer, no explanation—just “sign here now.”

So if you’re recovering in the aftermath of an accident or a disaster, and the companies at fault offer you (unprompted) something for your trouble, you should examine it with a heavy dose of skepticism. Look closely, and you might see the company is requesting something even more valuable from you in return.

Live Nation Not Offering Automatic Refunds

The Houston Chronicle recently reported on the Live Nation refund issue. Neither Scoremore nor Live Nation, the event promoters, have issued any guidance about when or where to expect the refunds. Some ticket holders went to the Front Gate Tickets site (the ticket provider for Astroworld) and requested a refund via the support page. This method has worked (so far) for a number of ticket holders who did not attend the event.

However, we must urge caution for people who did attend, especially if you were injured or harmed at Astroworld. Like Houston law professor Meredith J. Duncan said in the report, accepting any money from an at-fault party (including a refund) will likely come with conditions attached—such as waiving the right to sue.

Live Nation could easily issue automatic refunds to every buyer, no strings attached. By forcing people to seek refunds rather than issuing them proactively, 1) it’s more likely some of the ticket revenue will stay pocketed, and 2) refund-takers can be induced to waive their right to sue.

What We Know for Certain

Our Astroworld lawyers are investigating the crowd crush incident that killed eight people and left hundreds, potentially over a thousand, injured. Our firm is representing over 100 victims against Live Nation and Travis Scott, and we’re determined to help every one of them hold the defendants accountable.

Information on the Astroworld concert disaster:

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