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FAN SAFETY IN MLB
Unfortunately, Major League Baseball fan injuries are back in the news. Last week Boston Red Sox fan Tonya Carpenter was seriously injured at Fenway Park when she was hit in the head by a jagged piece of a broken bat. Thankfully, Ms. Carpenter is expected to recover, but her injuries were initially thought to be life-threatening.
Last year we told you about a Missouri case involving a fan injured by a hot dog thrown by Kansas City Royals’ mascot Sluggerrr. The fan in that case was allowed to pursue compensation for his injuries because the risk of being injured by a mascot’s hot dog toss is not an unavoidable part of watching a baseball game and therefore not an inherent risk of attending a game.
However, Ms. Carpenter may not be so fortunate. A longstanding legal principle known as the “baseball rule” holds that fans assume the risk of being hit by a ball or bat when they attend a baseball game. Because fans are presumably aware of the possible dangers of sitting close enough to the field of play to be injured, they are responsible for their own safety.
In the wake of this incident, Commissioner Rob Manfred has stated that Major League Baseball will reevaluate its safety procedures, including possibly extending safety netting down the foul lines. The problem is the majority of the ticket-buying public doesn’t want the netting to interfere with their view of the game or ability to catch foul balls.
Eventually someone is going to get killed and then safety precautions may be taken and laws may be changed. But until then, if you want to sit close to the action at a baseball game, you better pay attention to every pitch and be ready to protect yourself. Because at least for now, it’s all up to you.
However, you should still contact an attorney if you are injured at a game, regardless of the “baseball rule.” At Wendt Law Firm P.C., our experienced Kansas City personal injury attorneys will examine all the facts to determine if you have a case. Maybe the baseball team or one of its employees was negligent or some other factor creates an exception to the rule. You won’t know unless you contact us for a free consultation.
We will only receive a fee in the event of a successful resolution of your case.