As we get into the summer months, it is time for all of the fun activities associated with the warm weather and all the “tough” decisions. Hamburger or hot dog? Beach or pool? Red Sox or Yank…(we all know there’s no decision to make there!). One of the state’s best warm weather activities is the annual summer tradition – a trip to Fenway Park to watch the Red Sox. Few things compare with watching a game on a cool summer night at Fenway.
As great as the game is, it can be very easy to get distracted. You look at your phone to respond to a text or take a photo of your family; flag the vendor for a hot dog or cold beverage; or turn to your neighbor to discuss how good the Sox lineup looks. In that instant, a batted ball or a splintered bat can come flying into the stands, causing serious personal injury. Unfortunately, this is becoming a more and more common occurrence. So what happens if you are injured at a baseball game or any other sporting event when something comes from the field of play into the stands? Can I recover damages for my injuries? This article will discuss what causes of action, if any, are available as well as the little-known and very old, “Baseball Rule.”
For the purposes of this article, we will focus on baseball and use Fenway Park where examples are necessary, but these legal issues would also extend to other sports, for example, hockey. If you were injured at a game by a ball or bat, any lawsuit would be filed under a negligence claim. Under a negligence claim, you need to establish that the owners of the stadium did not take reasonable precautions to keep you safe. This is why when you attend a game at Fenway, the team has placed signs all over the park warning fans of the dangers of hit balls and bats, as well as making an announcement over the loudspeaker at the beginning of the game.