Baseball spectators beware! If you are hit by a foul ball at a baseball game, whether you were attempting to catch it or simply distracted by a conversation with another fan, it is unlikely that anyone will be held liable for your injury or responsible for your medical bills and damages. For more than 50 years, courts have consistently held that being hit with a foul ball while in the stands is an inherent risk of attending a baseball game such that the stadium owner, stadium operator, or even the batter will not be legally responsible if you are hit due to such an inherent risk.
Although the game of baseball arguably has remained pretty much the same during its existence, the fan experience is evolving at a rapid pace. Teams throughout the country are attempting to market the experience not just as a game, but also rather as a family-friendly EVENT. With this marketing plan comes an increase things such as mascot presence, promotional activities such as t-shirt tosses, and picnic areas for before and during a game to name a few. Many of these “family-friendly” activities cause spectators to become distracted and take attention away from the action on the field. Some of these family activities may take place even before the game has started or outside the stands.
In theory, a court should be more likely to find an owner/operator liable for an injury due to a foul ball or homerun when the injury happens outside the stands or while the fan is distracted by a family-friendly activity. However, courts are inconsistent when it comes to unique situations such as these. Therefore, it is best as a spectator to be aware that baseballs can ALWAYS leave the playing field even when you least expect it. Even a shattered baseball bat can leave the field of play and cause a devastating injury.
If you or a loved one has been injured as a spectator at a sporting event, contact Burton Padove, a personal injury lawyer, for a free consultation at 219-836-2200 or toll free at 1(877) 446 5294