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Safety at the Ballgame

By Hardwick & Pendergast, P.S. on November 5, 2017

Earlier this year, an overeager fan nearly plummeted to his death at Fenway Park while trying to reach for a foul ball. Thankfully, he did not ultimately fall over the railing, but the incident does make one question the safety of these types of events.

Should a fan at a stadium be seriously injured, is the stadium owner liable for those injuries? If this terrifying tumble had taken place at Safeco Field (and the man was actually hurt), could the venue’s management be held responsible for paying his medical bills?

Like any other civil claim in Washington, this would require proving that the owner was in some way negligent.

Foul Ball Overboard

The lucky fan who survived his fall at the Mariners–Red Sox game this year stood up in front of his seat, trying to catch a foul ball that came near him. As he did, he lost his balance and fell forward, toppling over the seats in front of him. Fortunately, his fall was stopped by other fans, who grabbed onto him. Had they not, however, this man could have easily tumbled just a bit further, fallen over the railing, and plummeted to serious injury or death far below.

Safety at Stadiums

While visitors to stadiums and ballparks are expected to act reasonably, we also expect the owners of those structures to make sure their guests are safe. Railings need to be sturdy and high enough that they actually provide some protection for visitors. The seats need to be fastened in place, and steps should be easy to see and not slippery, which could cause falls and other injuries.

Who Is Liable for Injuries?

If injuries do occur at a stadium or similar location, then liability comes down to negligence. Perhaps evidence would show the railing was not high enough to stop someone from going over, or that fans don’t have proper stability while standing in front of their seats. These are hypothetical possibilities, but some sort of negligence would have to be shown in order to hold the stadium owner liable for what happened.

If you or a loved one has been injured at a stadium, call Hardwick & Pendergast, P.S., at (888) 228-3860 today and tell us what happened. Your consultation is free, and we have experience in these cases and will be able to tell you if you have a civil case against the stadium owner.

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