Personal Injuries at the Ballpark

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Injured foot with bandage

While South Carolina may not have any major professional sports teams that represent the state exclusively, this does not mean that South Carolinians do not enjoy their sports. There are a number of minor league, college, and high school teams that draw significant crowds to ballparks and stadiums throughout the year. A night out at the ballpark or a high school football or basketball game is a great way to unwind at the end of a long day. But many stadiums are designed to maximize viewing of the game, not protect spectators. A broken bat, a football play that runs out of bounds, or a bad basketball or soccer shot can all result in a spectator sustaining a serious injury to the head, face, or other body area. Across the United States a number of people each year are injured while at professional and amateur sporting events. When these injuries occur, who is left “holding the ball” when it comes time to pay medical expenses and other losses?

“Assuming the Risk” at Sporting Events

Courts throughout the United States nearly-uniformly hold that a person who goes to a sporting event assumes the risk of suffering injuries that typically occur at these events. For example:

  • A baseball spectator “assumes the risk” that a wayward ball or broken bat might fly and hit him or her in the face;
  • Football spectators who sit close to the sidelines “assume the risk” that a player may run or be pushed out of bounds and into the stands; and
  • A soccer, basketball, or hockey spectator “assumes the risk” that a ball or puck might go out of bounds and hit him or her.

Whenever a spectator is injured by something determined to be an inherent risk of the sport, recovering compensation from another person is usually difficult. For example, not many (if any at all) baseball players have been successfully sued for injuries resulting from a foul ball that they hit. Courts say that the injured spectator assumed the risk of suffering such an injury when they purchased a ticket and voluntarily attended the event.

Recovery is Possible Where There is Evidence of Negligence

Where a spectator suffers an injury not related to the nature of the sport and caused by another’s negligence, however, recovery of damages is possible. For example, a wet floor in the stands that causes a spectator to slip and fall can lead to a successful premises liability suit. Likewise, a rowdy spectator who negligently causes injury to another spectator can be held responsible for those injuries.
It is important, therefore, to have the facts and circumstances of any personal injury incident evaluated by a knowledgeable personal injury attorney to ascertain your rights. South Carolina personal injury lawyer David R. Price, Jr. is experienced in evaluating potential personal injury claims and can provide you with relevant and knowledgeable legal advice. Contact him and schedule your free case consultation to discuss the facts of your situation by calling him at (864) 271-2636 or contacting him online.


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