To many, playing sports is more than just a recreational pastime. However, when someone gets hurt playing on an unsafe field, the injury can often be severe. Property owners, including those who own a sports field, have a responsibility to maintain a safe environment for people to practice and play on. When an individual is injured on another’s property, the injured party can bring a premise liability claim against the owner. In Indiana, an owner is liable for physical harm caused to a person invited onto his land if: (a) he knows his land is unreasonably dangerous; (b) the person would not likely realize the danger or fail to protect themselves from it; (c) he fails to attempt to protect them from the danger.
In a recent opinion, a state appellate court discussed whether the owner of a horse racing track could be held liable under premises liability theory after the plaintiff was injured while riding a horse on the track. Ultimately, the court concluded that the plaintiff could not raise a successful premises liability claim because he should have anticipated the risk that comes with horse racing.
According to the court’s opinion, the plaintiff was injured as he was exercising his horse on the track. Evidently, a jockey lost control of his horse and it collided with the plaintiff, who was thrown to the ground and injured. The plaintiff brought a premises liability claim against the owners of the race track, arguing that the racetrack owner owed him a duty to keep him safe and that the condition at the racetrack caused his injuries.