Break out your bats and gloves, baseball season is on the horizon! Attending baseball games, whether it be a little league or professional game can be just as exciting as playing the game. For many people, visiting the ballpark is a great family pastime.
Everyone hopes to catch that home run or foul ball that makes it way into the stands, but what if the baseball causes more harm than excitement? If a baseball, flying bat, or even flying hot dog hits you, who is liable?
It may depend on a variety of different factors, but a West Palm Beach personal injury attorney can help you decide if you have a personal injury claim based on your visit to the ball field.
Visit here to read more about personal injury cases in Florida.
Baseball Liability in Florida
Florida is one of a few states that uses a negligence theory to determine liability in a personal injury case at the baseball field.
Using this theory, the Court will ask:
- Was the danger or harm foreseeable?
- Did the owner/operator take the appropriate steps to protect their patrons against harm?
If the danger was foreseeable, then the owner or operator should have done something to prevent harm from occurring.
Read a case that explains this rule by clicking here.
The most common form of harm prevention at a baseball field is installing gates, nets, or fencing in the most frequent locations where a foul ball or bat might fly.
From the perspective of an injured individual, these requirements are a lot like a regular slip and fall case or other premises liability claim.
Is the Danger Foreseeable?
When you go to a baseball game, there is a lot of down time between innings. Today, baseball organizations have started playing games with the crowd and giving away merchandise.
You may recall seeing a “T-shirt cannon” the last time you went to a baseball game, well, hey now there are “hot dog cannons”, too.
Although you may not think a flying t-shirt or hot dog could inflict any real harm, it really could happen.
A case in Missouri dealt with the issue of a flying hot dog, and one of the things they considered was whether the flying hot dog was considered a foreseeable risk.
Part of their analysis assumed that flying bats and baseballs were foreseeable, but flying hot dogs likely were not.
The Baseball Rule in Other States
Florida’s negligence rule is not the majority rule in the United States. Instead, most states give baseball park owners and operators much more leeway.
Basically, as long as the park owners put up home plate screening to protect the spectators, then they have satisfied their duty of care to their patrons.
Under this rule, those who sit in an area that is not screened in have “assumed the risk” of being struck by a baseball or bat.
Other states like this rule because it creates a very specific “bright line” to determine when a park owner is liable.
Under Florida law, you must evaluate every situation to determine if the park owner satisfied their duty of care. Florida’s law is much more favorable to the fans than to the park owners.
Regardless, if you want to take your peanuts and crackerjacks to the screened in portion of the field, you are likely going to be much safer.
With A West Palm Beach Personal Injury Attorney, You Aren’t Playing For Peanuts…
If you have been injured at a baseball game, you may have a legal claim that could help with your medical expenses, lost time from work, and more.
Speak with a West Palm Beach personal injury attorney for more information.