Take Me Out of the Ball Game: The Risk of Serious Injury at America’s Ball Parks
In many parts of the country, spring has sprung. It is the time of year where winter is shaken off and many people begin to enjoy outdoor activities. Every year, millions of people see spring as the beginning of the baseball season. However, with the arrival of spring comes a fresh set of legal problems. A woman is suing Major League Baseball for injuries she sustained when she was struck in the head by a foul ball. Additionally, the story of a young boy nearly hit by a bat while on his phone has gone viral. This woman and this young boy are not alone. In 2014, there were 1,750 reports of fans being hit by foul balls. While not every one of these cases resulted in injury, foul balls have caused fractures, loss of vision, and even death.

A growing number of fans are looking towards litigation to send a message to the MLB that more can be done for spectator safety. These fans believe that the MLB can easily increase protections while not losing the spirit of the game. Even the current commissioner of the MLB, Rob Manfred encouraged increasing the length of safety nets, in August of 2015.

A ball park’s duty and premises liability
In general, any business has a duty to exercise ordinary care to prevent harm that is foreseeable to others. Business owners owe different duties to different individuals. Most individuals that deal with businesses are known in the legal world as invitees. An invitee is a person of the public who is on a land owners land for the purpose of business dealings whom the landowner owes a duty of ordinary care to. At a baseball stadium, a ticket-holder is an invitee.

In terms of baseball stadiums, ordinary care can be seen as signs warning of foul balls, screens and nets in the areas where a ball or bat is most likely to end up, and notices warning of foul balls on tickets. In many parks across the country, it appears as though the park has complied with an ordinary care standard. Parks claim that fans assume the “open and obvious risk” of getting struck by a ball or bat beyond these areas. In many jurisdictions, protection against liability for teams, owners, and the MLB is colloquially referred to as “The Baseball Rule”. While many locations have adopted a variation of the Baseball rule, there still may be room for improvement in protecting spectators.

Questions on Premises Liability?
If you or someone you know has been injured at a ballpark, or at another business, it is important to seek legal advice. Businesses often have insurance to cover liability, but dealing with insurance companies can be difficult and overwhelming without legal help. Contact our office, which has an experienced California premises liability attorney to get the compensation you deserve.

  1. May 12, 2016

    I guess finding useful, reliable inoarmftion on the internet isn’t hopeless after all.

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