When attending a sporting event, fans are typically focused on the game or event that they are watching and do not feel that they themselves are at risk of being injured. If any injuries occur, they usually occur on the field, not in the stands. However, sporting accidents involving spectators are possible and may lead to injury or even death.
While spectator injuries are much less common than on-field injuries, fans can be hurt with little warning. Hockey and baseball are the two sports in which spectators have the greatest risk of being injured. Typically the injuries result from a ball or puck flying into the stands and striking a spectator on the head or in the face. Head trauma and facial fractures commonly result from these accidents. Less frequently, part of a broken bat or stick may hit a nearby spectator.
While spectators assume some risk when they attend games, in some cases risk is not assumed and the facility owner may be liable for injuries. For example, if a protective screen fails to block a flying object, or a spectator is injured from a player purposely flinging an object towards spectators, someone may be legally responsible for the spectator’s injuries.
Determining liability in a spectator injury case depends on several factors, including spectator distance from the field, the level of assumption of risk, and the circumstances of the injury. If you have been injured at a sporting event, consider consulting with a personal injury attorney to discuss the details of your case.