With the baseball season in full swing—pun intended—and football season just beginning, fan safety at stadiums continues to be heavily scrutinized. THREE sports-related incidents have made headlines in the past week alone as the debate for greater fan safety regulations continues to heat up.
Monday night’s Red Sox-Yankees game saw some serious drama in the stands as Brian McCann’s bat slipped out of his hands and hit a female fan near the Boston Red Sox dugout in the seventh inning. This is the third sports-related injury to occur at Fenway Park this summer.
In addition, Boston Globe’s Travis Anderson reported this week that Brookline resident Stephanie Taubin, 46, is suing Red Sox principle owner John Henry for injuries she sustained after being struck by a foul ball last year during a Red Sox game at Fenway Park. Taubin and her attorneys are alleging Henry was negligent and failed to take adequate measures to ensure the safety of his fans. Taubin’s complaint stated that she was in an area above home plate, known as the EMC Club, in June 2014. Protective glass protecting that area had, at the time, been removed because of renovations, leaving the area (and fans) more susceptible to being hit by foul balls. Taubin was struck by a foul ball and subsequently suffered serious injuries including facial fractures and neurological damage, The Boston Globe reported. She incurred a substantial amount of medical expenses, lost wages, and diminished earning capacity, according to her lawsuit.
Stadium incidents happen frequently, and owners and managing companies of these large stadiums are fully aware of the types of risks posed to individuals who visit their establishments. When incidents like this occur, the first questions people usually ask are “Why did this happen?” and “Who is responsible?” People are also concerned about how the incident could have been prevented and how future similar incidents could be prevented. Referring back to an earlier blog we posted about fan injuries in stadiums, there are several things that can explain the legal responsibility a stadium owner has to a fan that has been injured while at the vicinity.
Tickets to sporting events or concerts are printed with a disclaimer and assumption of potential risk statement. These statements mean that by purchasing the ticket, the guest is aware of the risk for injury and assumes responsibility should he or she be injured while attending the stadium. The statements also relieve the stadium’s owners or managers from any liability for a person’s injuries.
In addition to the disclaimer on tickets, venues that regularly host sporting events are outfitted with protective equipment and safety measures to prevent spectator injury. While ticket disclaimers as well as these preventative measures serve to defend venues from legal responsibility should someone be seriously injured, and courts typically dismiss personal injury claims because of that rule, there are some exceptions. Personal injury and negligence claims may be filed if an injured party can prove that the owners of the sports stadium or entertainment venue were negligent in taking the adequate measures to keep a victim safe. An example of a premises liability situation that does not fall under the “assumption of risk” disclaimer could include a faulty railing or broken steps that cause a fan to fall and become injured because of faulty property maintenance. In addition to structural hazards, fans can also become injured as the result of being over-served alcohol and inadequate security (Read more about here.)
In Traubin’s case, a court will decide whether John Henry and the Red Sox were aware of the risks of taking down the protective glass and whether it was the Red Sox responsibility to ultimately have a protective barrier in that specific area.
If you or a loved one was injured while attending an event at an arena or sports stadium, call one of the experienced Boston Premises Liability Attorneys at the law offices of Altman & Altman. Upon thorough review of your case, our lawyers can determine whether you have grounds to file a claim against an owner of a venue for negligence and failing to protect your safety. Our team of seasoned attorneys has nearly 50 years of experience handling premises liability cases, and we have successfully recovered millions in compensation for our clients. All initial consultations are free and our lawyers are available around the clock to answer any questions you may have regarding your case.
Read the original article by The Boston Globe here.