Take Me Out to the Ball Game: Personal Injuries from Fly Balls

Baseball season is literally in full “swing” in Maryland.

As much fun as it is to see an Orioles fan catch one of Chris Davis’s grand slams, it is equally as common to see an unsuspecting fan get smacked by an errant foul ball.  Many people have attempted to cash in on the misfortune of catching one to the chin instead of actually catching one. However, people typically “strike out” in court when attempting to file personal injury suit against stadium operators because of a little known Maryland statute often known as the “Baseball Rule.”

Maryland is among a long list of states that adhere to the Baseball Rule, which limits the liability of stadium owners who screen the most dangerous areas of parks where the chances of being hit by a fly ball are high.

There are some exceptions to the rule.  Sports facility owners may be liable if they do not take proper precautions to protect the fans. Injuries that occur from some form of negligence may be compensable.  For example, failure to upkeep or maintain the wire screens behind the catcher’s box or those along the first and third base lines.  Although many spectators may find these screens a nuisance, they are there to retain baseballs hit into the stands.

Baseball fans who purchase tickets in the dangerous seating areas are assuming risk and the liability that comes with knowingly putting themselves in danger. Most tickets to baseball games and other sporting events have a disclaimer on the back that states something to the effect of, “the ticket holder assumes all risk and dangers incidental to the game of baseball…”

The chances of being rewarded damages for baseball fans who have sustained a personal injury from a foul ball are slim unless the injury occurred in a protected area.

There have only been a handful of cases where a foul ball victim has won.  One case in Idaho, Roundtree v. Boise Baseball, LLC, involved a man who sustained such a severe injury from a fly ball that he lost his eye.  The Idaho Supreme Court declined to adopt the Baseball Rule and allowed a jury to decide.  The court also held that assumption of risk is not a defense in Idaho except when a plaintiff expressly assumes risk.

There are several circumstances when it may prove wise to seek a personal injury attorney if you or someone close to you has been hit by a fly ball.  Many sporting events are held in public baseball fields without tickets or without a disclaimer on the ticket.  In addition, local ballparks may not have adequate warning signs at the facility to constitute the spectators’ assumption of risk.  In these instances, a personal injury lawyer may help the fly ball victim prove that the stadium owner or operator needed more protective or preventative measures for spectators.

The Law Office of Douglass Sachse can field any questions from baseball fans about spectator injuries resulting from fly balls.

Take Me Out to the Ball Game: Personal Injuries from Fly Balls

Baseball season is literally in full “swing” in Maryland.

As much fun as it is to see an Orioles fan catch one of Chris Davis’s grand slams, it is equally as common to see an unsuspecting fan get smacked by an errant foul ball.  Many people have attempted to cash in on the misfortune of catching one to the chin instead of actually catching one. However, people typically “strike out” in court when attempting to file personal injury suit against stadium operators because of a little known Maryland statute often known as the “Baseball Rule.”

Maryland is among a long list of states that adhere to the Baseball Rule, which limits the liability of stadium owners who screen the most dangerous areas of parks where the chances of being hit by a fly ball are high.

There are some exceptions to the rule.  Sports facility owners may be liable if they do not take proper precautions to protect the fans. Injuries that occur from some form of negligence may be compensable.  For example, failure to upkeep or maintain the wire screens behind the catcher’s box or those along the first and third base lines.  Although many spectators may find these screens a nuisance, they are there to retain baseballs hit into the stands.

Baseball fans who purchase tickets in the dangerous seating areas are assuming the risk and liability that comes with knowingly putting themselves in danger. Most tickets to baseball games and other sporting events have a disclaimer on the back that states something to the effect of, “the ticket holder assumes all risk and dangers incidental to the game of baseball…”

The chances of being rewarded damages for baseball fans who have sustained a personal injury from a foul ball are slim unless the injury occurred in a protected area.

There have only been a handful of cases where a foul ball victim has won.  One case in Idaho, Roundtree v. Boise Baseball, LLC, involved a man who sustained such a severe injury from a fly ball that he lost his eye.  The Idaho Supreme Court declined to adopt the Baseball Rule and allowed a jury to decide.  The court also held that assumption of risk is not a defense in Idaho except when a plaintiff expressly assumes risk.

There are several circumstances when it may prove wise to seek a personal injury attorney if you or someone close to you has been hit by a fly ball.  Many sporting events are held in public baseball fields without tickets or without a disclaimer on the ticket.  In addition, local ballparks may not have adequate warning signs at the facility to constitute the spectators’ assumption of risk.  In these instances, a personal injury lawyer may help the fly ball victim prove that the stadium owner or operator needed more protective or preventative measures for spectators.

The Law Office of Douglass Sachse can field any questions from baseball fans about spectator injuries resulting from fly balls.

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