Attending a Braves game is a summer pastime enjoyed by many Atlanta families, offering a great diversion for kids on summer break. Unfortunately, what is meant to be a fun afternoon spent with family and friends occasionally can turn into a dangerous situation for the fans in the stands.
In August 2010, an Atlanta family attended a baseball game between the Atlanta Braves and New York Mets. During the game, a foul ball flew over the Mets' dugout and hit a six-year-old child in the head. Tragically, the girl's skull was fractured, resulting in brain damage.
Recently, the young girl's family filed a lawsuit against the Atlanta Braves, the team's owner and Major League Baseball Enterprises. The lawsuit alleges the defendants were negligent, as they failed to properly protect the fans in the stadium.
Experts note that ensuring the safety of those in the stands typically involves nothing more than installing extra netting around the exposed seating area. Owners can be hesitant to do so, though, as the seats most at risk tend to also be the most expensive and the netting can obstruct the views of those watching the game.
According to a professor familiar with such litigation, bats thrown in the air and fly balls result in approximately 200 lawsuits each year, from incidents at Little League games up through the Major Leagues.
Reportedly, the most dangerous areas in baseball stadiums are those directly behind the dugouts. While teams often install netting around the dugouts to protect the players, the netting typically does not extend above the dugouts to block stray balls from hitting fans with those desirable seats.
Source: The Atlanta-Journal Constitution, " Lawsuit field for girl injured by foul ball at Braves game," Bill Rankin, July 18, 2012.
Our firm handles similar situations to the one discussed in this post. If you would like to learn more about our practice, please visit our Georgia premises liability page.