Who Is Liable If I Was Injured at a Red Sox Game?

November 14, 2021

Baseball fans often find themselves in the wrong place and at the wrong time in a stadium, leading to serious injuries, in this article, we will explore who can you hold liable for your injuries at a Red Sox game.

Nothing beats the thrill of catching a foul ball in a major league baseball game as it makes its way to the spectators’ arena but things can get from exciting to horrifying in an instant. Getting injured in a Red Sox baseball game, Boise baseball game, or any other baseball event is not as rare an occurrence as you may think. The damages sustained by the victims in such cases are excruciatingly painful and in some cases simply catastrophic. The threat of getting hit by the ball or a broken piece of the bat, traveling at several miles per hour, or getting injured on the premises otherwise can send one straight to the hospital, sometimes in serious condition.

If this happens, then the injured party can sue the responsible parties for compensation – even though Massachusetts is primarily a no-fault state, which means people must turn to their own personal injury protection insurance policy for compensation, it is still possible to sue in severe cases. In this article, we will explore your options in this regard to help you make informed decisions when it matters the most. Read on to find out more!

How Does Premise Liability Factor In A Red Sox Game?

As with any other premises, a baseball stadium must also be, in theory, safe for visitors. The owner/management staff of a baseball stadium must ensure safety for all people seated for enjoying a game. This applies to all visitors who’ve come there to enjoy the game and may be exposed to some harm in the course of doing so. The management must act responsibly and safeguard their visitors from any foreseeable harm or injury by putting up adequate safety barriers.

For instance, we know that bats and balls can and do fly into the audience stands – the high-velocity impact can even prove to be fatal. Since such an occurrence is fairly regular, this can be considered foreseeable harm, and thus, if the business owner fails to safeguard their audience from it, then that will be treated as premises liability. This is usually done by erecting a protective netting that shields and safeguards people from the direct impact of a high-velocity projectile.

Premises liability thus applies to this situation if the harm incurred upon the victim was foreseeable, the management had adequate time to protect people from the harm, but they failed to act responsibly. This way, negligence will lie with the management of the baseball stadium for not acting reasonably to protect visitors coming to their premises. But do keep in mind that this only applies to damages and threats that the owner/management staff could have seen coming.

The Baseball Rule & Assumption Of Risk Duty

However, premises liability does not apply in every case, there is a “baseball rule” which dictates whether or not you can sue for an injury. Spectators must be on the lookout for flying objects and projectiles because they do come crashing into the visitor’s area. They must then take evasive action to avoid being hit by the said projectile. However, within a certain “danger zone,” where the threat is near impossible to avoid, the management must put up safety netting to avoid any incident.

This area is netted for the express purpose of guarding fans and spectators against the impact of a high-velocity projectile. Here, the risk is pretty obvious and unavoidable, thus without the netting, the spectators would be subjected to an unreasonable risk of exposure (negligence on part of the management regarding a foreseeable threat). But if someone voluntarily sits in a non-netted area then they will “assume” the risk of injury which means that they’ll have to deal with the threat of being hit by a projectile, and if it does happen, they will be considered at fault (at least partially) because they themselves chose not to be adequately protected from errant balls.

PS, if you’re curious about the full extent of the baseball rule, just flip over your professional teams baseball event ticket the next time you buy one and read the inscription on the other side; you’ll get some perspective about how the stadium owner tries to avoid legal duty through their public policy.

These tickets are essentially waivers of claims.

This applies to every playing field, such as the Memorial Stadium, Wrigley Field, Tropicana Field, Minute Maid Park, Fenway Park, Association Park, and so on.

How Does Comparative Negligence Work With Assumption Of Risk?

But do keep in mind that the comparative negligence principle may be used to decide the outcome of a case, making this another important factor besides the assumption of risk. If someone was seated in an un-netted area and got hit by a ball then that is partly their fault since they themselves opted to position themselves in an unprotected segment of the stadium. However, it does not completely absolve the management from their responsibility or duty of care even with their waivers of claims via public policy.

There may be ways to prove that the management too acted neglectfully (did not show reasonable care) by subjecting their visitors to unnecessary risk. This would mean that the injured party may still be given compensation for their suffering. The sum will be slashed by a specific percentage based on the degree of negligence of the injured party (assumption of risk defense) versus that of the management (limited duty rule). In short, even if someone assumes the risk and gets injured, it may still be possible for them to get compensated.

Your best bet would be to contact a competent personal injury lawyer and have your case evaluated so you can know what to expect.

Other Risks Associated With A Baseball Game

Besides foul ball injuries, there are many other situations that put you at risk of getting injured in a Red Sox game, each with its own set of possibilities about the liable parties:

#1) Hot-Dog Injury

We mentioned two projectiles earlier on – ball and bat (or a piece of it), but there is one more, something that pairs perfectly with our national pastime. A hot dog may not seem like much of a threat but it is all about the angle and the point of impact. Get hit on the head, no issue, get hit in the eye and you might never want to eat one ever again in your life.

Hot-dog vendors in baseball stadiums are known to throw hot dogs to their customers. This, to some people, is very rude as it shows disrespect towards food, but at the same time, others raise concerns about safety. Unfortunately, it is usually very hard to sue the vendor for their mistake here even if they are clearly at fault (our best advice – be careful) due to affirmative defense.

But if some mal-intent was involved, i.e. if they hurt you on purpose, then you can send them a claim notice to sue for the damages (a direct hit in the eye can seriously damage the retina).

#2) Slips, Falls, & Trips

This is another area where premises liability becomes applicable without question. The stadium owner of the stadium must take all the necessary steps to make sure that any safety hazards and other inherent risks are dealt with, in time, and warning signs are placed for the guidance of people. Failing to do so can lead to serious accidents for which the owner will be held liable.

For instance, spills can cause slip and fall accidents. Serious injuries result due to improperly maintained elevators, railings, and so on. In the latter cases, the damage can be catastrophic, even fatal. In such cases, proving negligence on part of the owner should not be a trouble.

#3) Getting Assaulted By A Fan

U.S. baseball fans are quite territorial and their enthusiasm for their baseball teams often soars high above the clouds of rationality which means that they can get aggressive almost instantaneously. Fights in baseball stadiums are, unfortunately, not all that rare. However, in most cases, the security staff manages to control the situation in time, avoiding any major disaster.

But if that does not happen and a victim sustains serious injuries, then the ballpark owners will be held partly liable for the damages because this is a foreseeable risk. Plus, if we can, we’ll also hold the assaulted liable, plus the accompanying parties, for their assistance.

Bottom Line: Call Michael Kelly For Legal Consultation & Representation

Accidents happen and victims don’t usually see them coming. There is a high risk of getting injured in a Red Sox game, Chicago National League Ball Club game, Kansas City Baseball & Exhibition Co., Boise Baseball Club game, or even games involving minor league teams. You should not forfeit your rights without knowing your options. Your only friend in such situations is a personal injury attorney, don’t discuss your case with anyone before you’ve had your case reviewed by one of our personal injury lawyers at Michael Kelly.

We are well aware

We are well aware of the legal process for personal injury settlements in Massachusetts and will use our vast experience and knowledge to guide you through your scenario. Our lawyers will not only give you free legal consultation about your options but also represent you at all stages to get you compensated for your losses, even if you have to get the sum from your own insurance provider. We’ll take the best course of action with regards to your case and see to it that justice is served. Also note that the basic principle also extends to hockey game injuries, i.e. getting hit by hockey pucks, where ordinary care is necessary on part of arena owner.

If we have to, we’ll take matters to a superior court, or even the Supreme Court, to prove strict liability for injuries and winning you fair compensation for the liability for negligence on part of the responsible party.

Call us now for more information!

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Michael D. Kelly has a diverse background that provides a breadth of legal knowledge that he draws upon in serving his clients. Kelly compiled an excellent academic record during his three years at New England Law in Boston.