There are few things as exciting as watching your favorite sports teams. Whether it's baseball, hockey, football, or any other sport, the competitive environment can be a great way to spend the day.
But what happens when a foul ball or stray hockey puck goes awry and enters the stands? Who's responsible for medical bills, possible lost time at work, and more? The answer might surprise you.
Most sporting events, professional or otherwise, fall into a category of liability called "assumed risk." Which means that you, as a spectator, understand that flying objects may enter the seats. It's your responsibility to avoid them. On the back of most tickets, there is a statement warning ticketholders of this danger.
Assumed risk states that it's common knowledge that certain sports – hockey and baseball in particular – may have objects enter the crowd. Since you're attending the event, you're assuming that risk and understand the consequences.
However, not all injuries at sporting events are from foul balls and errant pucks. If there's reasonable evidence to suggest the stadium or team was negligent and caused the injury, then you may have a case.
While most risks at sporting events are considered "inherent to the game," there are situations in which you would be able to hold the stadium liable for your injuries. For instance: If the walkways are worn or crumbling and cause you to fall, there could be grounds for negligence on the part of the stadium for not maintaining their grounds properly.
In some cases, patrons may be over-served alcohol by stadium concessions and cause an accident on their way home. In that case, the stadium concessions could fall under Dram Shop Liability, which holds bars and restaurants accountable for over-serving intoxicated guests.
Other exceptions include known holes in protective netting, loose or unsafe handrails, warped or deteriorating stairs, and unmarked slippery surfaces. Be on the lookout for these dangerous situations, and always let stadium attendants know if you spot a hazardous condition.
Being fully alert and aware of your environment is crucial to staying safe at your next professional sporting event. Whether it's baseball or NASCAR or anything in between, you assume a certain level of risk any time you're a spectator.
While our law firm can't help if you're struck by baseball, we might be able to help if you're ever injured from a negligent property owner's hazardous environment. It's free to call, and we're available any time.