liability if a fan gets hurt at a game

What does assumption of risk mean?

When you buy tickets to a sporting event then you assume the risk of possibly getting hurt by their equipment. There are multiple things that can happen in an event and by you buying a ticket you remove liability off of the team if you get injured during a game. On the back of your tickets, there would be statements saying that the team is not held liable if you get hit with a ball, bat, stick, etc. Soccer balls can miss the net and land in the audience or in baseball the batter can get a home run and the ball lands in the stands. There many situations that can happen that can lead to a fan getting injured in the stands, but they are responsible for it because they knew the risk.

For a personal injury case, you would have to prove that there was negligence on the sporting facilities behalf that led to the injury. This could be because they didn’t do a regular inspection on protective netting or barriers that led to spectators being injured. When going against these facilities you want to make sure that any negligence was on their behalf if you want to make a case.


By buying a ticket to a sports game, you remove any liability from the team or arena if you are injured. The only time they would be held liable if something happens that doesn’t involve the actual gameplay. For example, it’s in the middle of a timeout and the teams are talking to their coach. One member gets irritated because of the feedback and kicks the ball and it hits a fan. That would be a liability on them because it’s not during the official gameplay. If the timer was on and the players were playing the game when the fan was hit, then the stadium would have no liability.

Can a spectator file a lawsuit if they were hurt at a game?

If the injury was caused by equipment during the game, then they will not be able to file a lawsuit. There are certain situations that can happen that can allow a lawsuit to be filed. For example, the protective netting for a baseball game. If a ball breaks through the net because of a hole and hits someone then the team is liable. This is negligence on the stadium because those nets are supposed to have constant inspections to make sure there are no tears or holes.

What are the top 5 accidents that may occur to a fan in a game?

  • For baseball on average 1,750 fans are hit by foul balls in MLB games every year. On average a foul ball can go more than 100 mph, imagine getting hit in the face with that!
  • Hockey is one of the most dangerous sports for fans. A study showed that out of 127 hockey games in the NHL, that 122 fans have been injured by flying pucks. Popstar Ariana Grande has been struck twice in one year by hockey pucks. At the age of five, she became famous in the stadium as being the first fan injury of the then-new BankAtlantic Stadium.
  • For soccer, more than 1800 fans were injured during games between 2016 and 2017. Injuries were caused by slip and falls, flying balls/objects, and burns from flares.
  • NASCAR races have the risk of possible injury due to flying debris. Over the years hundreds of fans have been injured but NASCAR has a no fan fatality record.
  • For golf, deaths are possible. There have been more than 10 deaths from golf ball related injuries that have occurred within the past 20 years. Recently in February of 2018, a New Zealand man was killed after being struck with a golf ball.

Frequently Asked Questions

What happens if you get injured in a sporting events in Florida?

If you are injured during a game because of a foul ball or a player kicking the ball too hard then you are responsible for the injury. You cannot file a personal injury claim against the facility because you assume the risk of possibly getting hit during the game.

What is the assumption of risks in a game?

By buying a ticket to a sporting event you are assuming that there is a risk for a possible injury. There are multiple situations that can lead to a fan getting hurt but you assume the risk when you purchase a ticket. The batter can hit the ball out of the field or a soccer player can hit the ball so hard that it hits the net.

What are the exceptions to the assumption of risk rule in Florida?

There are very few exceptions to this rule, for example, negligence on the stadium’s side. Sports facilities need to make sure that everything is up to code and any kind of barriers put in place for fans are stable. If you are walking downstairs and the arm rail suddenly collapses causing you to fall, then that is negligence on the stadium’s behalf. If you fell because you were on your phone then that is negligence on your part and there would be no case. Another exception would be an injury caused outside of gameplay. For example, a fan getting hurt because one of the volunteers tried throwing the ball to the coach and it hit the fan instead. This wouldn’t happen during the official gameplay so there would be a personal injury case.

What are the possible compensations if a fan gets hurt in a game?

Depending on the team, the fan might receive some free merchandise as a result of the injury. Sometimes they might receive an incentive or something positive to take away from the game.

How may an attorney help in proving negligence in a personal injury lawsuit?

Proving negligence against a sporting facility can be tricky. Your lawyer would have to prove that the facility was negligent in a situation. For example, if a worker went to grab a wet floor sign right after they mopped the floor and a guest slipped right on it, they can’t sue for negligence because there were no extreme causes for the fall. If one of the restaurants started had a burst piped that led to the floor flooding two inches and that led to the fall, then there was negligence. The reason there was negligence was that management had enough time to respond to the situation and tried to get it handled. If it has gotten to the point the area is flooded and there were no actions to help the situation, then there is negligence.

When you buy a ticket for a sporting event, no matter the sport, you always assume the risk that there is a possibility you might get hurt during the game. Sports are unpredictable and you never know what can happen that leads to your face making contact with a soccer ball. Thousands of fans a year get injured while watching sports games and they are reliable for those injuries. The only time the facility is liable is if their negligence led to injuries like ignoring inspections, procrastinating on fixing a preventable issue, or negligence in fixing property that could lead to injuries. If you believe that your injuries were caused by negligence on the facilities behalf then you would want to seek an attorney to help you with your case.

At the Smith & Eulo Law Firm, we have personal injury lawyers to represent you in your case. Call us today for a free consultation at 407-930-8912 or email at We strive to always be available for you.