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What to do if you are injured at a sporting event?

In New England, we are thankful to be part of the “City of Champions.” Each year, New Englanders flock to Fenway Park, the TD Garden, Harvard Stadium, and Gillette Stadium to see their favorite teams. Most people are excited to go see their World Series and Super Bowl championship teams, and they focus on all the of fun memories they are making with family and friends. Unfortunately, a sporting event can lead to a fan being involved in an accident. If you have been injured at a sporting event, this article will give you suggestions on how to navigate this unfortunate situation.

Baseball games are most frequently the sporting events where injuries can occur. Spectators can get hit with a foul ball or a broken bat. In recent years, Fenway Park experienced an incident where a fan was hit with a broken bat and suffered serious injuries. After this incident, the so-called “Baseball Rule” was discussed at length. This rule states that if you attend a sporting event, you will bear some risk that an accident might occur. For example, if you buy baseball tickets, you assume some risk that a foul ball may hit you at Fenway Park, even if you are not sitting in foul ball territory—and when you assume the risk, the team and stadium or arena are free from liability. The rule does apply at other sporting events: an example would be attending a hockey game and getting hit by a puck.

However, a stadium owner does have a duty of care and a responsibility to keep patrons safe. If you feel there is a possibility that a stadium did not follow the proper safety precautions, there is a chance you may bring a claim against the stadium. A stadium owner’s duty to protect fans spans throughout the entire arena or stadium, but these owners must take particularly serious precautions in high-risk areas—for example, in the case of baseball, this would include behind home plate or across the right and left field lines. Proper precautions would include installing netting to stop the ball from hitting fans. Similar netting should be installed at a football game behind field goal posts, so that fans do not get hit with a football following a field goal or extra point. Additionally, hockey arenas should put up protective screening to ensure that spectators do not get hit with a flying puck or stick. If you attend a sporting event and are injured, and these precautions have not been put into place, inform our personal injury attorneys, as the stadium may be held legally responsible.

A stadium owner has some responsibility beyond securing the venue. During a live event, an owner has a duty to protect fans during live play within the aisles and rows of the stadium. Since an incident can occur while people are heading back to their seat, security and the venue have a duty to spectators to keep them out of a dangerous situation. As one example, security may choose not to allow fan to return their seats during live play, in order to ensure that they will not be hit by a fly ball, puck or bat. If you have been involved in a situation where you have been sent back to your seat while a game is in session, and you became seriously injured, our personal injury attorneys can assist you in your case against not only the team, but stadium venue and security team as well.

A stadium owner also can be held liable for serious injuries for serving alcohol at their venue. At Fenway Park, a beer and hot dog are a perfect pairing. Alcohol and sports often go together closely, but intoxication can bring about many serious issues at an event, such as fights and alcohol-induced injuries. Stadium owners can be held at fault for overserving a spectator during an event if they are visibly intoxicated, under Mass. Gen. Law Chapter 138. Overserving a spectator can also lead to off-site issues such as drunk driving accidents.

Because personal injury is such an intricate field and requires and special degree of understanding, it is not advisable to take on a defendant without first consulting legal experts. Our experienced team of attorneys continue to work hard to find the best options for our clients. Please contact our offices at your earliest convenience by phone at 978-225-9030 or complete a contact form on our website. We will return your inquiry with prompt attention.

The information on this website is for general information purposes only. Nothing on this site should be taken as legal advice for any individual case or situation. This information is not intended to create, and receipt or viewing does not constitute, an attorney-client relationship.

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