Going to a sporting event can be a great time. Whether it is a baseball game, hockey game, basketball game, or any other type of sporting event, time at the game can be enjoyable for the whole family. Still, there is always a risk of injury at any sporting event. Baseball has a higher risk of injury thank any other sport because objects often leave the field of play and enter the spectator area. According to the Elias Sports Bureau, approximately 1,750 spectators are injured every year by baseballs that venture into the crowd during professional baseball games. Hockey pucks, soccer balls, basketballs, and footballs go into the crowd a lot less. However, during basketball games, it’s mostly the players that can injure a spectator. Have you ever seen a player fly into the stands chasing a ball? Imagine a 6- or 7-foot, 250-pound man falling on top of you unexpectedly because he was trying to save the ball from going out of bounds. Well, it happens, and people can be injured. This injury falls under assumption of risk in a personal injury case.
If you were injured at a stadium because of a slip and fall or by an object from the field that was not in an area covered under assumed risk, you may have a legal case against the stadium owner. Call Law Offices of Russell Fields in Sacramento at (916) 529-4143 to schedule a case evaluation today.
The court will not typically award a person damages for being injured by a baseball based on the assumption of risk that a person acknowledged when they bought tickets. Simply put, assumption of risk is when people intentionally put themselves in an area that could potentially cause them injury—like a baseball game. When a person buys a ticket to a sporting event, they acknowledge the potential for injury by going to the game, and they are willfully placing themselves within risk of injury. For most sporting events, there is a paragraph or two of legal language printed on most tickets about the assumption of risk, so the owner of the stadium cannot be held liable if a spectator is injured. However, assumption of risk only covers some parts of the sporting event, and there are other ways in which a person can be injured at a game.
Proving negligence in a premises liability case requires a person to provide sufficient evidence that the stadium owner did something wrong or did not fix the problem within a reasonable amount of time. For instance, if a person is at a baseball game and they sit behind home plate, there is an assumption of risk for injury in that seating area because a foul ball hit into that area is traveling faster than a ball hit for a homerun. That’s why the stadium owner and the league have mandated a protective net to be placed there to protect people from foul balls hit behind home plate.
However, if there is a hole in the net (for whatever reason) that is big enough for the ball to go through and a person is injured, that would constitute negligence because the stadium owner did not fix the net before the next game. This is assuming that the stadium owner or some part of the staff knew of the hole long before the person was injured. In this case, the stadium owner has an obligation to act reasonably to reduce the risk of injury to spectators. Meaning, if a person is injured because a ball went through the broken net, the owner is liable. Also, depending on where the person was sitting when they were struck by the ball—along the first-base or third-base lines—a person may be able to argue that the net was not large enough, but that is a hard argument to win because most stadiums are up to code on the protective netting. Also, Major League Baseball and the stadium industry have specific requirements for the distance that the netting can be from home plate.
If you were injured at a stadium that did not meet those standards case, because of a slip and fall, or by an object from the field that was not in an area covered under assumed risk, you may have a legal case against the stadium owner. Call Law Offices of Russell Fields in Sacramento at (916) 529-4143 to schedule a case evaluation today.