Legal Help For Victims Of Stadium Injuries
Seattle has some of the most loyal and enthusiastic sports fans in the country. But after cheering on the Seattle Mariners at Safeco Field or the Seattle Seahawks at CenturyLink Field, fans sometimes leave the stadium with more than just good memories and a ticket stub for their scrapbooks. Sometimes, they leave with injuries. And in some cases, those injuries are serious.
Being injured in a packed venue is a likelier than being injured while visiting any other business, mainly because there are thousands of people crammed into stadiums for sporting events or concerts. But claiming compensation for stadium injuries is more difficult than claiming compensation when you’re injured at another business. This is because “reasonable care” is a broader term in these instances, and because stadium owners take greater care to protect themselves.
Types Of Stadium Injuries
There are three main types of injuries that are likely to occur within a stadium setting. They are: slip-and-falls, injuries from a wayward ball or puck, and injuries inflicted by other spectators. In any other setting, all of these injuries would fall under premises liability law, but it’s a different case when they happen within a stadium.
Proving Liability In Stadium Injuries
Proving liability when an injury occurs in a stadium can be difficult, but that does not mean it’s impossible. It depends on the circumstances specific to any one injury, as well as the negligence of the stadium owner.
In A Slip-And-Fall
When a slip-and-fall injury occurs, the injured party must be able to prove that the stadium owner was negligent, and that their negligence led to the injury. This is easier to prove when the injury was caused by a broken stairway, uneven floor, or another part of the physical structure of the stadium that was in disrepair at the time. Stadium owners are responsible for ensuring their building is safe for spectators to visit and when they neglect to do so, they can be held liable.
But temporary hazards, such as a slippery floor in the bathroom, are a different thing entirely. These are not an uncommon sight in stadium bathrooms, but they don’t necessarily mean that the owner is liable, for a couple of reasons:
The first is that spectators should expect some level of slipperiness in wet areas like a bathroom. As such, spectators are responsible for ensuring their own safety while using these facilities.
The second reason why stadium owners can avoid liability for temporary hazards is because they simply cannot be expected to mop or wipe up spills as soon as they take place. If the spill was left for several days, or employees and managers were told of water covering the entire floor and they did nothing about it, the stadium could be held responsible. But if the water is caused simply by people walking across the floor with wet hands in order to dry them, the owner would likely not be held liable.
In An Equipment-Impact Case
In cases of pucks or baseballs that fly off the field area and strike a spectator, rarely is the stadium owner held liable. This is because owners take great care to place that responsibility on the spectators themselves – it’s typically written in small print on the back of the ticket. Also, this is usually considered an “assumed risk” for anyone who goes to see a live sporting event.
At The Hands Of Other Spectators
Cases of spectators injuring other spectators have the best chance of getting compensation for the injured party, but that compensation may come from different sources.
If two fans get into a one-sided fight, the victim might be able to sue the person who injured him or her. If both were equal participants in a physical fight, however, the courts may claim that they’re both responsible and withhold compensation from both.
If that fight was due to alcohol, or one spectator was drunk and somehow injured another spectator in his own excitement, the drunken party may be held responsible. If the drunken spectator was allowed into the stadium while drunk, or if the stadium staff continued to serve him after he was visibly drunk, the stadium owner could be held responsible. Sometimes, restaurants and vendors at a stadium bring in their own staff – and in these cases, the vendor may be held responsible.
Seattle Attorneys With Stadium Injury Experience
No one attends a sporting event or concert thinking that he will be injured during the event, but it still happens. When it does, the injured person needs to contact an experienced Seattle premises liability attorney. At Pendergast Law, we know liability can be difficult to prove, so call us today at 888-539-9211 and let us review your case.