This spring and summer, millions of fans will walk through the turnstiles to cheer on their favorite major league, minor league, and college baseball teams. In doing so, however, fans accept a certain level of risk (“assumption of risk”).
Sports Spectators Must Assume Inherit Risks
Stadium owners have an obligation to act reasonably to minimize spectator injury risks posed by the game, hence the netting behind home plate. However, during a game, foul balls and errant throws will enter the stands at unprotected areas. Bats that slip out of hitters’ hands or pieces of broken bats may occasionally land there, too. These events are considered inherent to the game; therefore, spectators assume the risks that accompany them. Typically, stadium owners and players will not be liable for resultant spectator injuries.
The same generally holds true for other sports in which a puck, stick, ball, or hurtling player may interject themselves into fans’ lives.
Injury Claims From Sports Events Come From Circumstances Outside The Field Of Play
However, actions that are not a normal part of the sport are a different matter. For instance, a player who throws something in anger at another player but strikes and injures a fan instead, or a players’ brawl that spills into the stands and causes harm to spectators. Assumption of risk also does not apply to circumstances originating from outside the field of play. For example, if an attendee is injured due to a defective product (e.g., railing, escalator, steps, etc.), inadequate lighting, a slip-and-fall incident, or lack of security personnel, among other possibilities, he/she may have a valid personal injury claim.
Attending a ball game should be a fun night out. However, if you are injured, contact me or call (404) 474-0804 to explore your options.