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One of the most common injuries that occurs to fans at sporting events is getting hit by a baseball. Getting hit by a foul ball not only can really hurt, but it can also cause a serious injury. For example, if the baseball struck you squarely on the nose, it could actually break it. This thought leads to a serious question. If a ball comes into the stands at a sporting event and breaks your nose, who is responsible?
Law Is on the Side of the Sports Teams
The bad news for spectators is that these days the responsibility for injuries that occur to fans from balls entering the stands lies with the spectator who was hurt. This is because baseball teams in the past were sued so many times by injures spectators that they learned how to protect themselves from lawsuits.
Up until the 1950s, judges would routinely side with the injured spectator in cases like this. In fact, some smaller teams were actually bankrupted from having to pay out huge settlements to patrons who were injured at their venues. However, other teams quickly learned from these mistakes, and all of them take steps now to legally absolve themselves from responsibility for fans getting injured by balls.
How the Teams Cover Themselves
The first way that baseball teams cover themselves is by using safety features to help protect fans from getting hurt by balls in the first place. If you have ever wondered why there is a screen behind home plate, it is in place to protect fans from balls flying into the stands at them. These screens did not always exist. They were put into place to protect fans from balls and teams from lawsuits.
By far, the biggest way that sports teams know protect themselves from legal action is by printing a disclaimer on the tickets they sell. This disclaimer states that fans have a risk of being injured when they attend the sporting event, and the team is not responsible for any injuries that occur.
Once teams started printing these warnings on their tickets, their liability for fans being hit by balls basically disappeared. Therefore, anyone who attends a sporting event needs to keep a weather eye out for balls flying into the stands. If they happen to get hit by one, they will have almost no chance of getting any compensation from the team or venue.