While many naturally associate personal injury cases with some of their most common formats, such as auto accident injuries and DUI concerns, the field of personal injury is incredibly broad. Virtually any injury or damage sustained by someone that may have been caused by another party’s negligence could fall under the personal injury category.

At the offices of John D. Halepaska, we’re here to provide wide-ranging personal injury attorney services, with coverage areas spanning from traditional auto accident case types all the way to product liability, wrongful death and many others. One example of a less common personal injury type, but one that is absolutely still relevant and could apply to you or someone you know: Injuries sustained at a public sporting event. Let’s go over the risks present here, the “assumed” portion covered within these, and cases where negligence could supersede assumed risk.

Examples of Sporting Event Risks

Injuries to sporting spectators are not common, but they can absolutely happen. Some of the simplest examples include fans being struck by projectiles from the playing field, whether we’re talking hockey pucks, baseballs or other objects. Others may include debris – this is particularly notable at auto racing events like NASCAR, where spectator deaths have actually occurred due to debris flying into the stands. There are numerous other examples as you move through popular American sports.

Assumed Risk

Now, it’s important to realize that as a paying customer at many such events, you are taking on what’s known as “assumed risk.” Assumed risk refers to the reasonable assumption that certain dangers might be possible – a hockey fan attending a game for their local pro team should reasonably assume that pucks leaving the ice are a potential hazard, and as such there’s a chance of being struck by one.

Based on assumed risk, there are many sporting event-related injuries that are difficult to bring forward with a personal injury lawsuit. This is because the fault will often be placed on the spectator themselves for not paying enough attention.

Waiver of Liability

Down similar lines, purchasing tickets for many sporting events involves agreeing to a waiver of liability. These waivers feature language that protects venue owners and event organizers from legal liability. It’s important to note, however, the waivers of liability are not all-encompassing, and there may be areas that exist outside both them and assumed risk considerations.

Negligence Cases

The primary example of exceptions to the above assumptions are generally found in negligence cases. For instance, a Wisconsin school district was sued back in 2016 after the bleachers a student was standing on at a high school football game collapsed – the lawsuit was based on claims that the district had not properly maintained its facilities to keep them safe. There are many similar examples of cases where a venue or governing body has not taken the proper precautions or has been otherwise negligent, and in these situations, it’s absolutely possible you or the injured party will have a claim against these bodies.

For more on sporting event injuries and whether they might qualify for personal injury claims, or to learn about any of our personal injury or auto accident attorney services, speak to the staff at the offices of John D. Halepaska today.

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