Responsibility for Injuries at Sporting Events

Aug. 13th, 2014   /   ,

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Sports are competitive by nature – there’s no doubt about that. To be sure, competition makes the game more exciting for the fans and the players. But when team rivalries fuel violent incidents off the field, court or ice, all of the fun associated with team sports goes out the window.

This was highlighted in a ruthless attack in a parking lot outside of Dodgers Stadium on March 31st of 2011; two Dodgers fans brutally beat Bryan Stow, a Giants fan and a career paramedic, into such a critical condition that he had to be subsequently placed in a medically induced coma.

Our Palm Beach and Broward county personal injury lawyers know that, while the two men who beat Stow were found guilty and sentenced to 8 to 10 years in prison following their criminal cases, there was another entity responsible for the attack: the Los Angeles Dodgers. On May 29th of this year, the civil trial commenced with opening statements. After weeks of testimony and 9 days of jury deliberations, the jury finally decided on July 10th to hold the L.A. Dodgers liable for $13.9 million in damages (as part of an overall award of $18 million).

So, why exactly would the L.A. Dodgers baseball team be held responsible for the terrible, lifelong injuries sustained by Bryan Stow? After all, it’s not like any of the baseball players on the team attacked Stow. Nevertheless, the Dodgers organization had the responsibility – the duty – to provide a safe atmosphere for the individuals who attended the sporting event. This includes ensuring that the spectators are safe while they watch the game, while they use the restrooms, while they walk to/from locations in and around the arena, and when they exit and/or enter their vehicles in the parking lot, which is owned by the Dodgers.

Over the course of the trial, it came to light that the Dodgers had not taken seriously this responsibility, having only budgeted 62 cents per guest in attendance on safety. This means that for a sell-out crowd of 56,000, less than $35,000 would be spent on the security of the fans in attendance. A result of this lax approach to security was that there were no security guards in the parking lot when the attack occurred and there were not enough lamps shining light on the incident; ample lighting would have a) made the incident more visible to individuals who might have been able to help and b) might have dissuaded the attackers from attacking in the first place.

Mr. Stow will need around-the-clock medical attention for the rest of his life. He’s suffered such damage to his body and brain that he also will be unlikely to fully recognize the impact of the attack on his body or of his case on personal injury law as a whole. Still, this multimillion-dollar jury verdict will ensure that his medical expenses will be taken care of, so that he can focus on the healing process.

If you have any questions about this case or any other personal injury issue, or if you’ve been injured due to the negligence or wrongdoing of another, please contact our personal injury attorneys at the Law Offices of Aronberg, Aronberg & Green. To schedule a free and private consultation, please call 561-266-9191 or e-mail daronberg@aronberglaw.com.

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