The sun is shining, it’s the bottom of the 8th inning, and your team is holding onto the lead. You hear the crack of the bat, but the next thing you know, you’re bleeding from a broken nose.
Being hit by a foul ball is a common injury for baseball fans. It could result in a bruise or a jammed finger. But sometimes it leads to a more severe injury – like a broken bone or head trauma. If you’ve suffered a serious injury as a result of a foul ball, you may wonder whether you have any recourse against the stadium.
In general, business owners owe visitors a duty to keep the premises reasonably safe. Sports stadiums, in many ways, are no different. If you slip on a wet floor and the stadium owners or their employees had reason to know the floor was dangerous, you can likely recover compensation for your injuries under premises liability law. An injury caused by an errant baseball, on the other hand, presents more complicated issues.
Check your ticket
On the back of most tickets to sporting events, you’ll find a lot of fine print. This fine print is a disclaimer that attempts to release the stadium owners from liability for your injuries. It essentially states that someone attending a baseball game assumes the risk of injuries that are commonly associated with that activity.
The disclaimer will usually cover injuries considered incidental to watching a baseball game, like being hit by a foul ball. As a result, in many cases, the stadium is not liable for injuries caused by baseballs. But, certain circumstances might weigh in your favor.
Take in the details of the scene
If the safety precautions taken by stadium owners fail, the assumption of risk from your ticket’s disclaimer may no longer apply. For example, if you are sitting behind home plate and a ball strikes you because of a hole in the safety netting, you could argue the stadium owners did not provide reasonable safety. In recent years, baseball fans have even begun insisting that current safety netting standards are not good enough.
This issue continues to evolve as safety standards adapt to current statistics. Both major league and local stadiums may eventually need to revisit their disclaimers or create systems to help injured fans. For now, those who have suffered an injury at a baseball stadium should consult a personal injury attorney to learn more about their options.