America’s game is back in full swing, bringing tens of thousands of people out to bars, tailgates and ballparks throughout the nation to watch their favorite teams play. Although baseball is amongst the slowest-paced sporting events held in America, it poses plenty of risks to those gathered in attendance.
The most obvious risk of injury at a baseball game is being hit by a scorching line drive or an errantly-thrown bat that makes its way into the crowd. Baseballs hit by professional players can be traveling a whopping 110 miles per hour, giving anybody precious little time to react to avoid one coming directly at their head.
Adding to the very real danger of constant projectiles peppering the stands is the fact that viewing baseball games is, especially today, a viewing experience that is rife with distractions. More and more people stay glued to a phone rather than the action – or lack thereof – on the diamond. Maybe you have a hot dog in one hand and a beverage in the other. These distractions make reacting to a ball headed your way even less likely.
Besides the risk of injury from balls and bats, baseball parks themselves offer plenty of scenarios that could injure somebody. Some seats sit many stories high in the air, with little protection against falls except for short railings. Falls have claimed the lives of fans in the past, and have injured others.
Gatherings of large numbers of people always carry inherent risk of fights, trampling, slips and other various accidents that may result in action being taken against a sporting venue. For instance, a Chicago woman recently filed suit against the stadium of the Chicago White Sox because they allegedly failed to prevent her from tripping over a barricade that protruded into a public walkway.
Successful vs. unsuccessful claims
Should an injury at the ballpark happen to you, there are certain situations and circumstances that will help to determine whether or not you have a legitimate claim to receive financial recompense for the harm you have sustained.
A Cleveland man was recently denied by a jury in his claim that the Cleveland Indians were negligent in not extending their safety nets far enough along the baseline, which he alleged allowed a ball to hit him in the head and resulted in the loss of vision in one of his eyes.
The man had claimed he was being distracted by ballpark personnel who were instructing him to move seats when the ball was hit and struck him. The team had argued that this was not accurate. In this case, hearsay and the uncertainties surrounding the facts of the event most likely sewed enough doubt in the mind of the jury that they couldn’t decide in good conscious whether anybody was directly at fault for the accident.
In the case of the Chicago woman, she may be able to make a better argument because it could hypothetically be proven that the barricade was obstructing a public walkway, and could easily have been foreseen by ballpark personnel as being a potential hazard to the health of their patrons. If this proof is presented, it could help prove negligence on the staff’s behalf, increasing the odds for a successful claim. Continue reading