Spectator Injuries at Sporting Events

Some of our fondest memories happen at sporting events. Whether it is seeing your favorite professional or college team or watching your children participate in school sports, sporting events are times when fans come together and rally around their team. However, what happens when spectators become too close to the action?

Traveling to see our teams play can be a fantastic time, but the risk of potential harm is never zero while at a sporting event. Whether it’s being hit by a foul ball at a baseball game or falling down the stadium stairs, sustaining an injury at a sporting event is always be a possibility. If an injury happens to you at a sporting event, it’s essential to know the steps you need to take for compensation.

Assumption of Risk, Waiver of Liability, and Contributory Negligence

In many sporting events, especially those involving motorsports, fans attending sporting events may assume the risk of injury through their attendance. Sporting venues and teams implement various contingencies to prevent lawsuits stemming from spectator injury during an event. The most common ways sports arenas protect themselves from personal injury cases are–assumption of risk, liability waivers, and contributory negligence.

  • Assumption of Risk is defined by the spectator’s understanding that there is inherent risk when attending a sporting event. The most prominent example of assumption of risk is known as the “baseball rule.” As long as netting protects the majority of a baseball field, spectators sitting in the unprotected areas of the stadium assume the risk of being struck by a foul ball.
  • A Liability Waiver is also generally printed on the tickets of any major sporting event. These waivers state that spectators agree to the risk of the event and waive liability for possible injury or death that may occur during the event. When the spectator makes the purchase or gains entrance into the venue, the waiver takes effect.
  • Contributory Negligence occurs when the spectator participates in risky behavior such as excessive alcohol consumption or attempting to access parts of the stadium that are off-limits to spectators. The venue may hold spectators fully or partially liable for their actions depending on the severity of their actions or intoxication.

In any case, sports venues do their best to create a protected environment for athletes and spectators to enjoy the event to the fullest extent. Safety measures such as protective netting, fencing, and railings are all put in place to make the viewing experience safe and enjoyable. However, some spectator injuries may occur that do not fall under the typical circumstances experienced at sporting events.

Spectator Injuries Outside of Typical Assumption of Risk

In most cases, injuries sustained during a sporting event such at venues like the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, will be overlooked due to the aforementioned legal measures. Still, some cases involving injuries at a sports venue may open a case for legal action. Many sports stadiums consist of older construction that may not adhere to current building regulations. Typical injuries due to building safety violations due to outdated construction include:

  • Injuries sustained by falling due to faulty or non-existent handrails
  • Slip and falls caused by inappropriately marked wet surfaces
  • Damages caused by falling objects without proper safety netting
  • Inappropriate fire prevention efforts resulting in personal harm
  • Escalator or elevator injuries

If you have experienced an accident similar to this at a sporting event, it is imperative to have proper representation for your case. Experienced legal professionals are trained to examine all aspects of the situation to provide you with the best outcome possible.

Contact Poynter & Bucheri–Premier Indianapolis Personal Injury Attorneys

If you or someone you love sustained injuries in an accident at a sporting event at Lucas Oil Stadium or other sporting venues in the Indianapolis area, the experts at Poynter & Bucheri are here to help. We understand that injuries at sporting events can be challenging to navigate, but we have the experience needed to form a strong case for your injuries. We will help you gather the necessary evidence and fight for your case–giving you the peace of mind that you have someone on your side.

Don’t hesitate–one of our experienced attorneys can assist you immediately—call 1-800-265-9881 for a free case review.