MLB Rethinking Fan Safety after Flying Bat Incident at Fenway Park

Major League Baseball is having a serious discussion about fan safety after a woman was critically injured last week when she was struck with by a piece of broken bat that had flown into the stands during a Red Sox game.

MLB commissioner Rob Manfred told reporters on Monday that the league will be “reevaluating where [they] are on all safety issues,” according to

In a statement to the Associated Press, the commissioner added, “You have to react strongly to an incident like this, but I think the best word for it is that we’re going to reevaluate where we are on the topic.”

While Manfred said that safety at ballparks has improved since the league conducted a 2008 study of broken bats, which ultimately led to changes in bat regulations. The AP reported that, “shattered bats are down about 50 percent since 2009.”

The commissioner said the league has spent a great deal of time making safety a priority, but this incident has changed the scope of their focus and they will be making more changes to ensure bats are safer. Manfred said that players may also have a say in what changes are made.


When incidents like this occur, the first questions people ask are “How and why did this happen?” and “WHO is responsible?” People are also concerned about how the incident could have been prevented and how similar incidents could be prevented in the future.

Who is Liable?

Owners and managing companies of large stadium venues are fully aware of the types of risks posed to individuals who visit their establishments, and tickets to sporting events and large entertainment events are printed with a disclaimer and an assumption of potential risk statement. What does this all mean? By purchasing the ticket, the guest understands the potential risk for injury and assumes responsibility should he or she be injured while inside the stadium. The statements also relieve the stadium’s owners or managers from assuming legal liability for the injured person.

In addition to the disclaimer on tickets, venues that regularly host sporting events are outfitted with protective equipment to prevent spectator injury. At Fenway Park for example, there is a protective net behind home plate and surrounding sections to protect fans from wild pitches and foul balls. And at the Bruin’s home ice rink at the TD Garden, there is protective glass as well as netting surrounding the ice to shield spectators from flying hockey pucks. Unfortunately, the protective netting was not sufficient enough to protect the female fan during last Friday’s game, and the league will need to determine where liability for her injuries lies.

While ticket disclaimers as well as preventative measures serve to protect venues from legal responsibility should someone be seriously injured, and courts typically disregard 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 did not take adequate measures to keep them 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. Investigators in the above mentioned case will have a number of factors to look at to determine whether the woman would be entitled to filing a claim against Fenway Park or the league.

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 dedicated attorneys has nearly 50 years of experience handling all types of personal injury cases, and we have successfully recovered millions of dollars 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 report here.

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