It’s a fun night out with some friends catching the game for your local major league baseball team. You’re enjoying watching your favorite players, with a tasty hot dog in hand. Unfortunately, danger lurks, even in a place as seemingly safe as the ballpark.
Foul balls happen all the time, but every once in a while they end up as line drives into the stands, putting fans at risk. So, if you get hit by a baseball, can you sue and win a lawsuit? Most likely not, and here are the reasons why.
Assumption of risk. There have been recent examples where baseball teams have been sued by people who have been hit and injured by a foul ball. But the legal response is usually that people who sit in stadiums are assuming a risk of injury.
Assumption of risk stands as a defense for personal injury lawsuits because it shows that the person who was injured knew there was a chance of being injured at the game and still chose to attend anyway. Most baseball fans know that if you go to a game, there is a strong likelihood that foul balls will make their way into the stands, but take that calculated risk anyway.
Liability waiver. Baseball tickets usually have liability waivers printed on the back. Ticket buyers are not required to read them before they go to the game. There are, however, other injuries that can occur at a stadium that are outside the scope of risk that someone assumed when they decided to go to the game. In these instances, it would be best addressed with an experienced attorney.
Baseball can be a fun and rewarding experience. Thankfully, spectator injuries are relatively rare, but they still happen. Just beware of the risks involved, since balls hit at such a high rate of speed can pose a serious health risk. Pay attention during play, and consider bringing a glove for a little added protection.
If you attend games regularly and have any questions about the risk assumption rule or potential liability for injuries at sporting events, contact a personal injury lawyer to discuss your concerns. Or, if you have been injured at a baseball game, an attorney can help answer questions about your potential claim.
Attorney Don Jacobs practices in all Washington and Oregon state and federal courts. He is an active member of the Washington, Oregon and American Trial Lawyers Associations and a frequently lectures on legal issues. Don has been serving the states of Washington and Oregon for more than 35 years and has recently won Clark County’s award for Trial Lawyer of the Year.