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Premises liability at sporting events

If there is one thing Ohio residents love, it’s their sports. With the Browns, Bengals, Cavaliers, Indians, Reds, Crew and Blue Jackets, plus a national championship-winning college football team, you can find just about everything you could want in this state. Going to a game is a great way to spend a day with friends or family, cheering on your team to victory or supporting them after a loss. But it can also be a great way to get injured.

When you are packing tens of thousands of fans into one area, accidents are bound to happen. You may get pushed down, or a fan may spill a drink that you slip on before it gets cleaned up. Or, a ball — or even a player — may come flying off the field directly toward you. What sort of legal action can you take in these situations?

In many cases, the stadium, owner and/or team may be held liable for your injury. This applies to certain injuries, such as slip and falls or even improper security. In these cases, it is understood that the stadium management has a reasonable responsibility to protect its patrons from harm. There are, however, exceptions.

If you look at the back of an event ticket and pull out a magnifying glass, you will see that events like foul balls, a puck coming into the stands or a player leaving the field of play are likely not covered by premises liability. These happen during the natural course of play and are therefore part of the risk you take when you come to the game. There are stipulations with this, however. For instance, there is netting behind home plate at a baseball stadium. This is because, if a foul ball is tipped backwards, a fan likely cannot react in time to dodge it.

Premises liability is a tricky subject. If you’ve been injured at a sporting event, a personal injury attorney may be able to provide legal counsel on the matter. 

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