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Who’s Liable for Injuries at a Sports Arena?


Going to a sports game should be a fun and enjoyable experience. Unfortunately, if proper safety measures aren’t followed, fans can sometimes leave a stadium or arena with completely preventable accident-related injuries. 

If you were hurt while attending a sporting event, it’s important to understand your legal options. In the event that another party was responsible for your injuries, you may be entitled to recover your economic and non-economic damages by filing a personal injury action. 

Stadium Owner Liability

Under New York’s premises liability laws, stadium owners have a duty to ensure stadium grounds are kept in a reasonably safe condition. This means that an owner or another responsible party can be held liable for failure to remedy property hazards they knew about — or should have known about — in a timely manner. For instance, a stadium owner may be accountable for injuries to a spectator as a result of the following:

  • Slippery floors and spills
  • Broken seating
  • Escalator and elevator malfunctions
  • Defective handrails
  • Broken steps 
  • Inadequate lighting 
  • Negligent security 

Additionally, a stadium owner can be held liable if they created the dangerous condition that caused the injury and failed to remedy it or warn about it. 

The “Baseball Rule”

In limited circumstances, a stadium owner might also be legally liable for a spectator’s injuries under the “baseball rule.” This doctrine states that a stadium owner may have a duty to exercise reasonable care and protect those who sit in high-risk areas of an arena from being injured. For instance, a net may be required to catch foul balls in the seating area behind home plate at a baseball game. However, the duty may be limited in a low-risk area of the stadium because fans generally assume the risk of the inherent dangers of attending a sporting event.           

Recoverable Damages in a Sporting Arena Accident

Injuries incurred at a sporting event can range in severity, based on the type of accident. In severe cases, such as those involving a traumatic brain injury or paralysis, a sporting event injury may cause permanent disability and require lifelong medical treatment. A victim of a sporting arena accident may be entitled to a wide variety of damages in a personal injury lawsuit if they can establish that someone else’s negligence was to blame for their injuries. In such cases, a victim may be eligible to recover both their economic and noneconomic damages. 

Economic damages are meant to cover unreimbursed medical expenses, lost wages, future lost earnings, and out-of-pocket expenses connected with the accident. Non-economic damages are more difficult to quantify and are not pecuniary in nature. For example, damages in connection with pain and suffering, loss of enjoyment of life, loss of consortium, and other non-monetary damages may be awarded in a personal injury lawsuit for a sporting arena accident.             

Contact an Experienced New York Personal Injury Attorney

If you were hurt at a sports stadium due to the negligence of another, you may be eligible to recover your damages by pursuing a personal injury action. It’s essential to have an experienced personal injury attorney by your side to ensure you obtain the maximum compensation you deserve. The Dearie Law Firm, P.C. has been successfully representing clients who have suffered injuries in premises liability cases for more than 30 years.

The Dearie Law Firm, P.C. has convenient office locations in Manhattan, Brooklyn, and the Bronx, as well as mobile locations serving Brooklyn, Queens, Manhattan, the Bronx, Staten Island, Westchester County, Rockland County, Nassau County, and Suffolk County. Contact us today for a consultation.