Both the national media and the internet turned their eyes to Florida this March when a photo of a baseball game went viral. The photo depicted a father reaching out and putting his arm in front of a bat that was flying directly toward his son. A batter lost control of the wooden bat, sending it hurtling into the stands. It was spinning rapidly and headed right for the young boy’s face. Only a lightning-fast reaction saved the boy from certain injury.
The man, Shaun Cunningham, had taken his son to see his first professional baseball game, a spring training matchup between the Atlanta Braves and the Pittsburgh Pirates. Luckily, no one was seriously hurt and the incident made for a good story, but fans do not always escape unharmed.
Danger at sporting events
Fans want to be as close to the action as possible, but for certain sports, that proximity isn’t without risk. Baseball is particularly dangerous, because foul balls, broken bats and loose bats can all fly far into the stands at high speeds. Sometimes the players themselves even end up in the stands while chasing down an errant ball. Major League Baseball recently recommended that teams install additional safety netting to help reduce these dangers, but these recommendations are not rules and have not been implemented universally.
If you do choose to attend a sporting event, you should always keep your eyes on the playing field and be ready to react to sudden danger. Those who are injured may have limited legal recourse, as a court may determine that they have assumed the risk of injury by attending the event while aware of its dangers. Warnings typically appear on tickets and throughout the stadium. In some cases, however, it is possible to bring a lawsuit against the stadium owner or another party for failing to take reasonable action to protect spectators.
If you have been injured at a sporting event, or in any other place open to the public, you may have a claim for compensation under Florida law. To learn more, speak with the experienced Manatee County premises liability lawyers at the firm of Shapiro, Goldman, Babboni & Walsh.