Sports fans enjoy heading out to ballparks, hockey rinks, and football stadiums to watch their favorite teams play and spend quality time with friends and family. A great day out can be ruined when someone slips, falls, and gets seriously hurt in these venues. This has been known to happen and can be bad enough to require an emergency room trip; in some cases, the personal injuries are fatal. Unfortunately, people can very get caught up in the games and not be paying attention to their surroundings when they fall. However, even if someone is being careful, they can still end up getting injured. How do slip and fall accidents happen at stadiums?
How Could I Get Hurt at a Stadium?
One of the leading causes of slip and fall accidents at stadiums is wet, slippery floors and debris on the ground. All stadiums serve food and drink, and there seems to always be spilled drinks and trash all over the place. Some of it can be slippery as well. There is also the hazard of objects being dropped and thrown from higher levels and balconies, and the likelihood of all this happening increases when people are drinking too much alcohol.
Alcohol and drug consumption at stadiums also leads to other bad behaviors such as crowd trampling, assault, and rape, though it is not the only reason why these things happen at these venues. Large groups of people can also fall into mob mentalities and do things that they might not normally do when alone or in small groups. A recent example of this happened in early August of this year in Bogota, Columbia, at El Campin Stadium. There was a riot in the soccer stadium, and one person was seriously injured. Afterwards, the city’s mayor announced that spectators would be barred from the stadium indefinitely.
Aside from fan-induced injuries, the actual stadiums can also present inherent slip and fall hazards for visitors. Shoddy construction and poor maintenance, especially in older stadiums, can be dangerous in different ways. A loose railing, crumbling walkway, or old carpeting can all be accidents waiting to happen. Stadium parking lots can also be problematic at any time of year. If maintenance crews do not put down salt when the lot is slippery or fail to clear away snow, fans can slip and fall when walking from their cars. There also needs to be functioning lights and proper signage to safely direct people where they need to go.
Who is Responsible for My Slip and Fall Accident at a Stadium?
Sports stadiums can be very large; the largest ones in the world can hold up to 150,000 people. Therefore, the upkeep and maintenance need to be up to the highest standards to ensure everyone’s safety. Stadiums also have many safety codes that staff must follow, and these vary depending on the states where they are located. Even so, slip and fall accidents occur more than they should in these venues, and as mentioned, some are even fatal. To prove that another party was responsible for a stadium slip and fall accident, a victim must establish negligence. It must be shown that there was knowledge of the dangerous conditions that directly caused the slip and fall injury, and that the steps needed to minimize the safety hazards were not taken.
The negligent party could be the stadium owner, a subcontractor, a staff member, or another fan. As an example, a fan attending a football game might slip and fall in a bathroom that had a leaky pipe that caused the floor to be wet and slippery. That victim would need to show that the stadium owner or another party was aware of the leak, had time to get it repaired, but failed to do so. There might be more than one party responsible for the slip and fall accident; the owner as well as the maintenance staff might be liable in this kind of a situation.
How Does Maryland Law Handle Slip and Fall Cases?
Comparative negligence laws apply to many kinds of lawsuits, including car accidents and slip and fall cases. With comparative negligence, plaintiffs who bear some legal fault for their accidents can receive damages, but these will be reduced by a certain percentage that corresponds to the amount of liability they have; this is determined by the court.
The state of Maryland falls under contributory negligence instead, and this has different implications. Plaintiffs who are found to share any amount of the fault for the accident cannot receive any compensation for another at-fault party. Therefore, if a court finds that a plaintiff was 25 percent responsible for their slip and fall accident, that plaintiff may not receive any compensation at all.
It makes sense then, that property owners and other liable parties will do whatever they can to show that an injured fan was partially responsible for their injuries. They might assert that the fan was not paying attention to where they were walking, was wearing the wrong kind of footwear, was in a part of the stadium where they should not have been, or that the hazardous condition should have been obvious. Another defense would be that reasonable steps were taken to guard visitors from a dangerous area, such as signs, rope, or cones, but were ignored.
The contributory negligence rule can give at-fault parties an advantage and also applies to settlements as well as lawsuits. Another problem that can occur with slip and fall cases is when injured parties wait to file cases until after the deadline for doing so has passed. According to Maryland Courts & Judicial Proceedings Code section 5-101, civil lawsuits for personal injuries must be filed within three years from the date the injury happened.
Towson Personal Injury Lawyers at Huesman, Jones & Miles, LLC are Well Versed in Stadium Slip and Fall Cases
Slip and fall stadium accidents can be challenging because of state laws. However, the seasoned Towson personal injury lawyers at Huesman, Jones & Miles, LLC can provide you with assertive legal guidance that can be advantageous for your case. Our experienced and compassionate legal team will give you the help and support you deserve. For more information and a free consultation, complete our online form or call us at 443-589-0150. Located in Hunt Valley and Towson, Maryland, we serve clients throughout Baltimore, Baltimore County, Bel Air, Bentley Springs, Columbia, Freeland, Hereford, Hampton, Westminster, Essex, Monkton, Sparks Glencoe, Parkton, Phoenix, Pikesville, White Hall, Carroll County, Harford County, and Howard County.