VALPARAISO- The first lawsuits were filed today in connection with Saturday's deadly stage collapse.
A Valparaiso family filed suits against the State of Indiana and several other parties for the death of 42-year old Tammy VanDam of Wanatah and the severe injuries of her life partner, 49-year old Beth Urschel.
Urschel couldn’t hold back tears as she re-lived the final few moments before the stage collapsed last Saturday. She was in the front row with VanDam.
They were at the Sugarland Concert for VanDam’s birthday, but when the wind struck the stage, VanDam didn't make it.
"My little toe was severed off, they had to reattach it and there's a segment I'll never have again," said Beth Urschel of Wanatah.
And there's something else she'll never have again. Beth Urschel's life partner, Tammy VanDam, was killed in the Indiana State fair collapse last Saturday.
VanDam's family is suing the State Of Indiana and several other parties.
"To be honest there is more than enough blame to go around, period," said Injury Attorney Ken Allen.
Allen said the stage collapse could have been prevented.
"These companies should not have erected this flimsy house of cards as a stage and should not have been permitted to do so," Allen said.
Along with a weak stage, Allen said the national weather service issued severe warnings.
He said the concert should have been called off.
"It's really a no brainer and why they didn't do it, it defies logic," Allen said.
And Urschel is also trying to make sense of it all.
"I turned my back to it and all of a sudden I heard screaming and we felt the wind. I looked up and here's the stage starting to fall. Where do you run where do you go, you pray that you survive," Urschel said crying.
Urschel survived but sustained several injuries.
She’s suffering from severe tissue damage, dozens of bruises, 40 stitches and a broken clavicle. Her life partner, VanDam, leaves behind a 17-year old daughter as well.
Along with Urschel's many apparent injuries, Allen says the emotional scars are permanent for both Urschel and VanDam's daughter.
"We believe the damage caused to this family exceeds 50 million dollars," said Allen.
Allen said he's confident the jury will hold the responsible parties accountable for the tragedy.
"This was not an unforeseeable, unpredictable fluke," he said. "I have no doubt that we will win the fight."
Along with the lawsuits filed today, Attorney Ken Allen filed an injunction to preserve evidence from the stage collapse.
He wants the jury to see the evidence without it being touched, tampered or destroyed.
He's hoping the judge will have a ruling on that injunction by Tuesday.
Governor Daniels office said the State hired a Washington DC public safety and crisis management firm to conduct an analysis of the state's response on this situation.
But the attorney said he's taking it with a grain of salt. He said the firm was handpicked by those who had a hand in the disaster. He thinks they're building their own defense.