I have written multiple times over the past few years about a number of baseball fans injured by foul balls at major league baseball games. Over the past few years, all the major league teams extend protective netting to the end of each dugout where the players and coaches sit. Despite these extensions over the last few years, fan injuries have continued.
A 2 year old boy was injured in Houston earlier this year, along with a 3 year old in Cleveland earlier this week. Last month a woman was injured at a Chicago White Sox game. This woman’s injury was enough for Chicago White Sox owner Jerry Reinsdorf to take action. He asked his grounds crew overt the All Star break to investigate and eventually install protective netting that extends all the way to the outfield foul pole. The first game with the new netting was this week against the Miami Marlins. The only other team to announce adding the additional netting were the Washington Nationals.
What will the rest of major league baseball do in response to all these injuries? I hope they follow suit and do what the White Sox have accomplished. Obviously the technology is there, and there is no reason for teams to hold off any longer.
The question remains whether injured fans have any recourse against teams and major baseball. The family of the 2 year old has filed suit against the Houston Astros and Major League Baseball. Typically, these types of lawsuits have been dismissed based on an assumption of risk rule (referred to as the “baseball rule”) that protects major league teams. Each ticket sold basically states that they are not responsible for injuries that come as a result of errant foul balls, and courts have held that this should protect the teams and league from liability. But will this hold up when the teams know that the netting they currently have is not enough to protect fans? They are on notice and if they refuse to extend the netting, then I believe a court should refuse to dismiss these types of cases. I hope the case is litigated so that we can see a change in the law.
If you or a loved one were seriously injured in a Chicago personal injury accident or Chicago truck accident, then call Chicago accident lawyer, Aaron J. Bryant, for a free legal consultation at 312-614-1076.