Stadium Liability Lawyers

Where You Need a Lawyer:

(This may not be the same place you live)

At No Cost! 

 What Is Premises Liability?

Premises liability refers to a set of laws that hold property owners responsible for accidents and injuries that happen on their property. Premises liability also extends to any accidents or injuries that occur at a place of business, such as a sports stadium.

Premises liability law requires that property owners ensure that any person who enters their property is safe through requiring the owner to take reasonable measures to prevent injuries or harm. It is important to note that in most cases premises liability does not extend to trespassers.

As a legal concept, premises liability is generally based under the theory of personal injury law. Personal injury law deals with matters in which a person’s injury was caused by a defective or otherwise unsafe condition on another’s property. Similar to most personal injury claims, premises liability claims are commonly based on proving negligence.

The legal term negligence refers to a person failing in their duty to exercise reasonable care, and that failure resulting in damage or injury to another person. In short, negligence focuses on an individual person or business’s failure to take certain precautions or actions, as opposed to their direct actions.

In order to prevail in a lawsuit based on premises liability and recover damages for their injuries, the plaintiff (i.e. the injured party that initiates the lawsuit) generally must prove the following legal elements:

  1. That the owner of the property owed them a duty of care;
  2. That there was a dangerous, unsafe, or defective condition that existed on the property owner’s premises;
  3. That the owner of the property knew of the dangerous, unsafe, or dangerous condition, and failed to take any actions to remedy the situation; and
  4. That the injury occurred due to the property owner’s failure to exercise their duty of care, which resulted in quantifiable injuries to the plaintiff.

What Are Stadium Liability Laws?

As mentioned above, stadium owners are one example of a party that owes a duty to persons who enter their property. Stadiums can be either an indoor or outdoor structure that is used for public events such as concerts, flea markets, conventions, and sporting events. Typically, an injury that occurs in a sports stadium falls into one of two different categories:

  1. Premise liability injuries, such as slip and fall accidents; or
  2. Injuries that are a result of the event itself, such as when a fan is hit by a ball or puck.

It is important to note that in both categories of injuries, the liability of the stadium owner will depend on numerous different factors. For instance, most people know that baseballs being hit into the stands of a stadium is common in watching a baseball sporting event. For this reason, most ticket purchases to a baseball game include a liability waiver for baseballs or bats that may go into the stadium seats.

Thus, guests may have assumed the risk of injury by coming to watch the sporting event, as they knew that these injuries could occur. In the end, it will be up to the injured party to prove that the stadium owner was negligent in their duty of care.

What Duties Does a Stadium Owner Have?

Once again, a stadium owner must exercise reasonable care to see that the stadium, as well as the outside of the stadium that is part of the property, remain reasonably safe to other persons. This means that the stadium owner must warn visitors of any hidden dangers that could put the visitors at a risk of harm.

Additionally, an owner must also guard against dangers that they know or have reason to believe may occur. If they do not, they may be found negligent to take precautions. For example, almost every baseball stadium has a giant net situated behind home plate to prevent common injuries from foul balls.

Examples of other possible injuries that may occur at stadium include:

  • Injuries that occur from slipping and falling on the stadium floor, such as due to loose pipes, leaks, or spills;
  • Injuries that occur from defective seating equipment, such as the seat failing to hold the person or cutting the person;
  • Injuries that occur from the horseplay of patrons. It is important to note that the liability a stadium has for the actions of a third party will typically be difficult to prove, unless the third party was an employee of the stadium. If they were an employee, then the stadium may be held liable under the legal theory of respondeat superior;
  • Injuries that occur from thrown objects, such as a t-shirt gun, etc.;
  • Injuries that occur from pushing and crowding, such as injuries related to persons being trampled;
  • Injuries that occur from collapsing bleachers; and/or
  • Injuries that occur from over-serving patrons alcohol. In these cases, a stadium owner may be liable for injuries related to the over-serving of alcohol under dram shop laws.

How Can I Win a Stadium Liability Case?

As noted above, in order to prevail in a lawsuit based on premise liability or stadium liability against the owner of the stadium, the injured party must be able to prove that the stadium was negligent in some way. This means that simply being injured on stadium property does not automatically make the stadium owner negligent and liable for the damages associated with the injury.

Thus, in order to prove that the stadium owner was negligent, the plaintiff must prove each and every element of negligence outlined above. This means that the plaintiff will have to show that the owner knew or should reasonably have known that the property was dangerous, and the owner failed to take any actions to fix the problem or prevent injuries from occurring.

Examples of common ways in which a stadium owner may be found to be negligent include:

  • The owner did not have enough ushers, security, attendants, or other personnel to supervise the stadium given the nature of the event;
  • The owner did not regularly inspect and maintain the stadium, which led to a dangerous condition existing at the stadium; and/or
  • The owner arranged the stadium in a dangerous manner, or allowed dangerous items to be present in unexpected areas of the stadium.

Further, if the plaintiff is able to prove that the owner of the stadium was negligent, they will also have to demonstrate that they suffered some quantifiable damages.

What Are a Fan’s Legal Rights?

A fan’s legal rights will be based on their status on the stadium property. Typically, an individual present on stadium property will either be an invitee or a trespasser. An invitee is an individual who has been invited onto the property by the owner themself. As such, the stadium owner has a duty to warn them of risks that they are aware of, and if the risk of harm is unreasonable. The stadium owner also has a duty to make sure their premises are safe from dangerous conditions.

In contrast, a trespasser is a person who has entered or remained on a stadium owner’s property without the permission of the owner. Although state laws regarding trespassing vary, generally a property owner does not have a duty to warn trespassers of dangerous conditions. This is even more true if the stadium owner is unaware of the trespasser’s presence, such as an individual who snuck in.

In addition to the status of the individual, there are also different standards of care imposed on the stadium owner depending on the event itself. For example, a baseball stadium is required to protect spectators behind home plate with a large protective net, but there is no requirement for a full protective screen around the entire stadium.

Similarly, in a hockey arena, the stadium owner must take steps to protect all of the spectators from flying pucks. In contrast, a stadium that is hosting a concert may not require any preventive actions be taken, other than ensuring the premises itself does not have any dangerous conditions.

It is important to note that there are certain events where the ticket would include a disclaimer that would state the fan’s rights and obligations. The disclaimers present on the ticket are an attempt to try to minimize any legal obligations of the stadium owner regarding a fan’s injuries. However, the simple presence of a disclaimer does not make the owner immune from any legal liability or duty to ensure that the stadium is safe.

Do I Need a Lawyer for Help with Stadium Liability?

If you have been injured during a visit to a stadium, it is in your best interests to consult with an experienced personal injury lawyer. An experienced attorney can advise you as to whether or not you may hold the stadium liable for your injuries.

Additionally, an attorney may also initiate a lawsuit on your behalf against the stadium owner or responsible party in order to recover your damages. Finally, an attorney will also be able to represent you in court, as necessary.

Save Time and Money - Speak With a Lawyer Right Away

  • Buy one 30-minute consultation call or subscribe for unlimited calls
  • Subscription includes access to unlimited consultation calls at a reduced price
  • Receive quick expert feedback or review your DIY legal documents
  • Have peace of mind without a long wait or industry standard retainer
  • Get the right guidance - Schedule a call with a lawyer today!

16 people have successfully posted their cases

Find a Lawyer