Massachusetts Legal Blog
We Say, “Go Red Sox!” (And Stay Safe at the Game)
With over 37,000 seats, Fenway Park is packed to capacity for just about every Red Sox game. While fans typically leave these games with hoarse throats and great memories, they can also leave with injuries. One fan found that out recently, after being struck by a flyaway baseball bat.
Now that the Red Sox are facing the L.A. Dodgers in the World Series, conditions are going to get crowded!
Many other accidents can take place at a ballpark, and for this reason, DiBella Law Offices, P.C., wants to remind our fellow fans to keep safety in mind while at the ballgame.
Flyaway Bat Results in Serious Injuries
On September 12, 2018, Boston Red Sox fans were enjoying a game against the Toronto Blue Jays. The Jays were down 1-0 when Devon Travis swung at a fast knuckleball dealt by Steven Wright. The bat flew from his hands and went into the crowd behind the third-base line. It landed about 15 rows back and hit a man in the head.
The remorse on Travis’ face was obvious as he realized what his errant bat had done. The man started bleeding from the head, but stood up on his own and pumped his fist to show he was okay while applying a towel to his head. The man was taken out on a stretcher to Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, but he was said to be at home doing fine the next evening.
Surprisingly, it wasn’t the first time something like this had happened at Fenway Park. In 2015, a woman was seriously hurt when the Sox were playing the Oakland A’s and Brett Lawrie’s broken bat flew into the crowd in the same area.
Of course, anyone who’s nearly missed a flyaway foul ball knows the damage they can do. While the Red Sox aren’t to blame for these accidents, and in fact, a waiver on the back of the ticket protects the team from liability for these inherent risks of the game, there are other ways fans may be hurt while at the game…or while getting to the game…or going home.
Other Dangers of the Ballgame
The biggest dangers that may be associated with a ballgame may not occur at the actual game. Driving to the game, taking the subway, or even walking to the park can all result in accidents. While the Red Sox clearly would not be responsible for these accidents, someone else might be. A driver from out of town may be confused with directions, or inebriated, and may hit a pedestrian walking to the game. An untrained bus driver may panic and crash while driving a bus. In these cases, the individuals who acted negligently can be held responsible for their actions—and for paying compensation to the injured party.
Accidents can also happen in the ballpark. Children may become lost or choke on the hot dogs and peanuts so commonly associated with a ballgame. Children may also suffer from hearing problems after a game, as the noise level can easily surpass 100 decibels, particularly when Mookie Betts hits one out of the park.
However, children aren’t the only ones at risk at Fenway. Opposing fans can get into heated arguments and even physical altercations, or those who have had too much to drink at a game can trip or fall on steps and other areas of the stadium.
In many of these instances, there may be a negligent party, who is liable for any injuries sustained. Adults are responsible for their own behavior. To ensure that a day spent at the ballpark is an enjoyable one for all, it’s important to keep safety tips in mind when going to the game.
How to Stay Safe at the Ballgame
If you’re bringing small children, take some extra precautions to ensure everyone gets home safely. Place each child’s ticket within the child’s own pocket, and not into a parent’s purse or wallet. This should help if children get lost, as an usher should be able to bring them back to their seats. Of course, children should also be coached on how to find an usher in case this happens.
Distracted eating can become a choking hazard, especially if something exciting happens on the pitch. Eat carefully and stay focused while doing so. Even better, enjoy food in the concourse area before going to your seats.
All children should wear ear protection while at a game. This holds true for adults who suffer from hearing issues, or who don’t want to hear ringing in their ears after the game.
Imbibing during a game is commonplace at Fenway Park, but everyone should do so responsibly. Drinking to the point where one can no longer walk should always be avoided. However, while you can control how much you consume, you can’t control how much others may drink. When opposing fans are drunk, or overly excited about the game, they can get into heated arguments or physical fights with the many Boston fans around them. If this happens, try not to engage. Find an usher who can remove the fan or deal with the situation appropriately.
At DiBella Law Offices, P.C., the Boston Red Sox are heroes of ours. Unfortunately, we also know that many things can go wrong during a ballgame. Follow these tips so you can enjoy the game. But if you are injured while cheering for the Sox, give us a call so we can help you hold responsible parties liable and get the compensation you may deserve. Call (781) 262-3338 to speak to a Boston premises liability lawyer for free.
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