Attending a baseball game at Wrigley Field can be a fun and entertaining experience. However, what happens if you get injured at Wrigley Field in Chicago, IL? Can you sue the baseball teams or the stadium owner?
Whether you have a claim for damages depends on the type of injury you sustained. Baseball stadium injury cases are complicated personal injury claims. The best way to know if you have a claim is to talk with a Chicago premises liability lawyer.
The Baseball Rule and Injuries Sustained During a Baseball Game
The “Baseball Rule” is a legal doctrine that releases operators of baseball fields and baseball players from liability if a foul ball injures a fan. The theory behind the rule is that fans assumed the inherent risk of being hit by a foul ball when they willingly attended a baseball game.
The legal theory gained widespread use by the courts after the Missouri Supreme Court used the “Baseball Rule” in its 1942 decision in Hudson v. Kansas City Baseball Club. The court found that the danger of being hit by a foul ball at a baseball game was common knowledge to most people.
The court ruled the teams only need to provide a reasonable number of protected seats and reasonable warnings of the risks of being hit and injured by foul balls. The responsibility was fulfilled by communicating the risk to spectators in oral or written cautions and constructing a backstop at home plate.
In recent years, some states have reconsidered the “Baseball Rule,” however, Illinois has codified the legal theory in 745 ILCS 38/5. The Baseball Facility Liability Act limits liability for the owner or operator of a baseball facility.
According to the law, the operator or owner of a baseball facility is not liable for someone’s injury if they are hit by a ball or bat unless:
- The victim is behind a backstop, screen, or similar device that is defective in a manner other than in height or width because of the owner or operator’s negligence; OR,
- The injury resulted from wanton and willful conduct in connection with the baseball game by the owner or operator or a manager, coach, or player employed by the operator or owner.
Therefore, unless you can prove a protective barrier was defective due to negligence or the injury caused by willful and wanton conduct, a judge will likely dismiss a lawsuit claiming damages from being hit by a ball or bat at Wrigley Field. However, if your injuries were caused by another accident or incident, you might have a premises liability claim.
Premises Liability Claims at Baseball Stadiums in Illinois
Property owners, managers, operators, and other parties responsible for a property have a legal responsibility to provide a reasonably safe environment for people visiting the premises. A breach of duty could result in liability for damages.
Reasonable steps to prevent injuries could include, but are not limited to:
- Conducting routine inspections of the premises
- Repairing damages
- Installing adequate lighting
- Providing sufficient security
- Repairing damaged stairs, handrails, and other safety measures
- Placing visible warning signs indicates potential risks and dangers
Therefore, if your injury at Wrigley Field resulted from a slip and fall accident, you might have a personal injury claim if the owner or operator was negligent. However, you have the burden of proving the legal elements of a premises liability claim before you can recover compensation for your damages.
What Damages Are Available for a Premises Liability Claim at a Chicago Stadium?
If the Baseball Rule does not prohibit your injury claim and you prove the owner or operator was negligent in causing your injury, you could receive compensation for your economic and non-economic damages. Examples of damages in a premises liability claim include, but are not limited to:
- Medical bills and expenses for treating the injury
- Occupational, physical, and other rehabilitative therapies
- Physical pain and suffering
- Lost wages and benefits, including a decrease in earning capacity
- Mental anguish and emotional distress
- Out-of-pocket expenses
- Loss of enjoyment of life
- Scarring, disfigurement, impairment, and disability
- Diminished quality of life
- Personal and/or nursing care
How much a stadium injury claim is worth depends on the facts and circumstances of the case. If the victim contributed to the cause of their injury, Illinois comparative fault laws could bar recovery for damages or reduce the amount the person receives for damages.
If you are injured at Wrigley Field, report the injury to the stadium management immediately. Seek medical treatment for your injuries as soon as possible. Then, talk with a Chicago premises liability lawyer to determine your legal options and rights regarding a personal injury claim.