Athletes aren't the only ones injured at sporting events. Fans can also suffer injuries from slip and falls, trip and falls, accident debris and even assault. Certain spectator accidents make the news. In 2011, news outlets told the story of a fan who suffered brain damage after a brutal attack in the parking lot at Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles. This year, we heard about a NASCAR Daytona 500 crash that sent debris hurtling toward fans.
Many more spectator injuries never make the news. Fans are injured when they slip and fall on wet floors, fall down bleachers, are hit by flying objects (such as baseballs or pucks) or are victims of negligent security and the actions of drunk fans.
If you were injured at Staples Center, the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum or another sports venue near Los Angeles, who can you hold accountable? The owners of the sporting venue? Another fan? The manufacturers of defective bleachers? The answer is different in each California sporting event injury case.
Lawsuits Against Sports Arena Owners
In some cases, owners of sports arenas can be held accountable through premises liability lawsuits, but there are limits to this liability. For example, if you are hit by a ball during a Dodgers game, it may be difficult to hold the owners of Dodger Stadium liable. Getting hit by a baseball is a risk associated with the game; by attending the game, you assume that risk.
Furthermore, many sporting event tickets include restrictive clauses that limit liability and can prevent some negligence cases from moving forward. Yet, while waivers of liability and release clauses are "catch-all" clauses, many injured plaintiffs can still recover compensation.
For example, if your injury was unexpected — that is, one that does not normally occur during the sporting event — it may be possible to sue the owners of the sports venue. NASCAR fans injured in the Daytona 500 crash will be able to argue that their waivers did not include waiving the risk of being hit by car parts, especially when there was a protective barrier to prevent spectator injuries from race accidents.
Injured fans may also hold the owners of sporting venues accountable for failing to properly maintain their property and warn against hazards. Property owners must take reasonable action to keep a property safe. If they know of a hazard, fail to warn visitors of the hazard, and the hazard causes an injury, they may be held accountable. Similarly, if they do not provide adequate security, crowd control or lighting and a fan is injured as a result, they may face a premises liability lawsuit.
Lawsuits Against Third Parties
In many sporting event injury cases, a third party can be responsible — or share responsibility with the sports arena — for an accident. Liable parties may include:
- Other spectators: Drunk and negligent fans can cause other spectators to fall down stairs, trip over hazards or be injured in auto accidents. They may even assault other fans, in which case they can also face criminal charges.
- Manufacturers of defective structures and equipment: If spectators are injured by defects in bleachers, safety nets, protective walls, sporting equipment or other defects, it may be possible to bring product liability lawsuits against the manufacturers or construction companies responsible for the defects.
As you can see, multiple variables affect accountability for spectator injuries. A law firm experienced in handling sports fan injury cases can evaluate your case, help you determine who is liable and bring a lawsuit to recover compensation for your medical expenses, loss of income, pain and suffering and other damages you have suffered.