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Sporting Events: Premises Liability or Not?

When deciding to partake in the fun of a sporting event, like a hockey or baseball game, one is usually aware of the risks that they may be exposed to—including the potential for a puck, bat, or ball to fly into the unsuspecting crowd. If a fan is seriously injured as a result, however, do they have grounds to file a premises liability lawsuit?

The fact is that it depends on the type of incident that occurred and the scope of the liability agreement that the victim may have unknowingly entered into by purchasing the ticket in the first place.

In most cases, the stadium that is hosting the event will include, in fine print, a disclosure of general release of liability on the ticket. This means that if a fan or bystander is injured during the course of the game or event, the stadium cannot be held liable for the injuries.

In special circumstances, however, if the stadium does not provide adequate security for unexpected occurrences—like a fight that takes place in the stands—a premises liability claim may apply. If it can be shown that the stadium’s staff did not provide adequate security, like taking the proper measures of crowd control or refusing to serve overly-intoxicated fans, the establishment may find themselves to be the target of a lawsuit.

Also, failing to properly maintain the facility is not covered under the “assumption of risk” waiver, as it may lead to injuries from slip and fall accidents that are unrelated to the natural course of the event. If you have been injured at a sporting event, you may be unsure of whether or not you have a valid personal injury claim.

If this is the case, you should not hesitate to explain the circumstances of your injury with a qualified attorney. If it can be shown that the property owners and/or managers did not take the proper measures to ensure your safety, you may be able to pursue a premises liability claim in order to obtain compensation for your unjust injuries.