Service of Responsibility

July 23rd, 2012

Categories: Accident, Responsibility, Sports

nascarGolfer Roray McIlroy accidentally hit a fan in the head with his ball at the British Open in Lytham St Annes last week.

The ball of an 11 year old New Jersey boy went rogue and hit a bystander. He was warming up the relief pitcher in the bullpen at a Little League facility.

Accidents happen. You go to a NASCAR event and if you’re in the wrong spot in the stands you might find a piece of metal in your arm caused by flying shards from a crash on the track. Ball boys and girls at tennis tournaments can easily get bonged. I suppose you could even find a giant wrestler in your lap if your seat is by the ring. What if a fan hurts him or herself trying to catch a foul ball?

little-leagueThe now 13 year old Little Leaguer is being sued by the woman who was hit, according to news reports, for $150,000 for medical expenses plus an unknown amount for “pain and suffering.” Sidebar: I was brought before a judge and the two lawyers during a voir dire in NYC civil court a few years ago because one of my questions was, “Will the jury be given parameters to define the financial range of pain and suffering in this case?”  I was told “no” and excused from that case’s jury pool.

When you go to a sports event, do you accept the potential hazards of doing so? Should people who attend a free event sign a release or if they buy a ticket, should there be 2-point type written by lawyers on the backs of each one that discharges the producers or players from potential suits in cases of inadvertent harm to bystanders?

sportshazard

7 Responses to “Service of Responsibility”

  1. ASK Said:

    Right on, Jeannie! Sorry, but there really are too many lawyers in the world. Not long ago, I was one of a potential pool of jurors in an automobile accident case in Jersey City. The plaintiff’s neck was in a brace; we were informed that the defendant would not at any time be appearing on his own behalf and we were not to read anything into that (I assumed, as did others in the group, that he was in jail.)

    The judge asked the potential jurors if any of us knew what “tort reform” meant. I raised my hand and was called to the bench, where I added, “And I believe in it.” The two lawyers couldn’t wait to dismiss me.

  2. Jeanne Byington Said:

    Good for YOU, ASK, though in so many ways it was a strange question for a judge to ask, no?

    I wonder where the judge stood on the subject of tort reform.

    Had I been in the jury pool and had I not known its meaning, I’d have Googled the term on my return to office or home or during the next break, as I assume some who remained on the jury did, and that it might have colored the outcome anyway. I can hear the lawyer who wasn’t pleased with the outcome shout “mistrial!”

  3. Simon Carr Said:

    You touch upon something patently absurd about our society. We voluntairily place outselves in harm’s way and then blame the people who harm us.

    It used to be that every mother wanted her son to become a doctor or lawyer. Now, thanks to Obama care and greedy insurance companies, being a doctor is becoming an increasingly unattractive way to make a living. (Besides, Indian doctors will happily do the same work for far less.) This leaves the law as the way to go, and means that we will soon have even more lawyers out to make a buck off us any way they can.

    We already have by a huge margin, far more lawyers per capita in this country than any other country in the world. Why? Because if we get ourselves into trouble, we’ve been taught to expect somebody else to pay, not us. This is ridiculous, expensive and counterproductive. President Obama should do to the lawyers what he has done to the doctors. But then, of course, he is a lawyer himself.

    To repeat the obvious: Caveat Emptor. If you go to a sporting event and get hurt, it’s nobody’s fault but your own.

  4. Anonymous Said:

    This is a HUGE topic— especially at Sports Events:

    http://newyork.yankees.mlb.com/nyy/ticketing/postseason_terms_and_conditions.jsp

    http://ctsportslaw.com/2009/09/30/uconn-football-attempts-to-waive-liability-for-pat-down-procedures/

    http://www.northeastfor2012games.com/newcastle-torch-celebration/ticket-terms-and-conditions

    And the Yankee Ticket Warning is:

    “The bearer of the Ticket assumes all risk and danger incidental to the sport of baseball and all warm-ups, practices and competitions associated with baseball, including specifically (but not exclusively) the danger of being injured by thrown bats, fragments thereof, and thrown or batted balls and agrees that neither the Office of the Commissioner of Baseball, MLB Enterprises, Inc., MLB Properties, Inc., Baseball Television, Inc., MLB Advanced Media, L.P., the American and National Leagues of Professional Baseball Clubs, the Major League Clubs, nor any of their respective agents, players, officers, employees and owners shall be liable for injuries or loss of personal property resulting from such causes.”

  5. Jeanne Byington Said:

    Simon,

    Anonymous, who commented right after you did, points out that the players and producers are covered–but I bet a good lawyer will squeeze through any such warnings! Restaurants and other places where you can hang your coat on a rack post a sign that states the place isn’t responsible for loss of person items. Fiddlesticks–that’s to discourage a suit it doesn’t prevent one, nor does it ensure that the person with a loss won’t get something: He or she no doubt will.

    Speaking of Indian doctors, I’ve known several who are superb, one who helped save a dear friend’s life. On the other hand, with employment in the doldrums here, it would be great if we might save some industries for Americans to make a decent living.

  6. Lucrezia Said:

    Never gave it a thought. The only sports events I go to are football and ones chances of being “attacked” by a pigskin are slim. Should something bad happen, I’ll worry about it then.

    The woman who was hit at the Little League game sounds like a professional: One who exposes herself to chancy situations in order to be able to sue. Otherwise, she would have been content with medical costs, and wouldn’t have so much as dreamed going after a child. Now aren’t Little League teams covered by some sort of insurance?

  7. Jeanne Byington Said:

    Lucrezia,

    I doubt most people give being injured a thought when anticipating a live sports event and according to a radio interview I heard about the Little League incident, the woman said she was OK at first. Two years later, she was no longer OK.

    Your point about asking for her medical expenses and nothing more is telling . It should not matter how old the person was who threw a ball during a warmup session in a bullpen. She was not the target for sure–the ball went astray.

    I would assume that Little League is covered by insurance but perhaps people can’t sue them for some reason. The little boy isn’t insured. His father was articulate when interviewed by Rick Wolff of “The Sports Edge” on WFAN a few weeks ago, but obviously shell shocked. Wolff also thought the suit was pretty horrible.

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