When a spectator is injured at a sporting event, there are several details that factor into whether the venue is at fault. Consulting with a personal injury lawyer is the best way for one to determine if they have a claim against the venue.
Anthony Santiago, associate attorney in the litigation group at Walter Haverfield, and Regan Sieperda, attorney at Nurenberg Paris, both in Cleveland, discussed the process of evaluating whether a sports venue is at fault when a fan is injured.
“In typical premise liability, when it comes to commercial spaces, it always comes down to negligence cases,” Santiago said. “(In) any negligence case, you always have to determine whether there was a duty of care owed to the invitee or to the person that’s on the premises.”
In commercial contexts, those responsible for making sure attendees are safe may be the owner of the property or the commercial entity itself, he pointed out.
“They’re owed a responsibility to take reasonable measures to make sure the invitees and people that come onto the property (are) safe,” he explained.
At a sporting event, there may be exceptions to this liability, he said. Sports tickets often have disclaimers printed on them, or listed in the terms and conditions of an app that holds digital tickets. These disclaimers release venues of liability if a spectator is injured by a common occurrence, such as a baseball being hit into the stands.
“There’s a little waiver attached to those tickets that tell you that, when you’re at these sporting events, there’s certain inherent danger to come along with that; and so by accepting the ticket, buying it, you’re kind of waiving the possibility of filing a claim due to an injury,” Santiago said.
These waivers do not cover all instances of injury,