Injuries that can be classified under sport spectator injuries are generally arising out of:

  • An inherent risk or hazard in the sport being watched,
  • The actions at a sports arena by a third party, an employee, or another spectator, or
  • Hazardous defects in a sports arena unrelated to the event.

When Can a Sport Spectator Injury Lawsuit Succeed?

Lawsuits for sport spectator injuries are generally based on negligence principles.  That means to be successful, you must prove that:

  1. A defendant owed you a duty of reasonable care under the circumstances,
  2. They breached their duty,
  3. You were injured, and
  4. The defendant’s conduct was the cause of your injuries.

In many states, specific laws have been adopted for certain sporting events such as hockey and baseball.  They generally make it more difficult to sue for an injury that results from being struck with a flying puck or ball.

Who is Liable for a Sport Spectator Injury?

Depending on the circumstances in a lawsuit by an injured sport spectator, the following can be liable:

  • Owners and operators of the sports arena,
  • Promoters of the sports event,
  • Concessionaries and other employees,
  • Participants or athletes in the event, or
  • Other spectators.

Are There any Defenses?

Generally, the most common defenses to a lawsuit for an injured sport spectator are:

  1. Assumption of risk – This means that a sports spectator knew there was the danger that they could get injured in the way that they did.  For example, most people who go to a hockey game know there is a risk of a puck coming over the glass and hitting them.
  2. Liability release – Liability releases are commonly found on the back of a sporting event ticket.  In some cases, the act of buying a ticket is enough to abolish or limit the liability of another for a sport spectator’s injury. 

Do I Need an Attorney if I am an Injured Sport Spectator?

If you have been injured as a sport spectator in some way, and think someone else is liable to you, it is highly recommended for you to contact a personal injury attorney.  Only they will be able to explain the issues and help protect your rights.