Sports fans don’t always appreciate the risks of seeing their favorite team. Stories, such as the one about the fan who suffered injuries during a Giants-Rockies game after being hit by a foul ball, are, unfortunately, fairly common.

Stadium duty of care

Colorado law obligates team owners and stadium operators to take reasonable care to protect spectators from foreseeable harm. Reasonable care means stadium owners must erect protective devices such as barriers, fences, and nets to shield spectators from fly balls or other harmful objects. A team or stadium owner that violates their duty of reasonable care may be liable for your injuries. Damages can include compensation for economic harm, such as lost wages as well as for non-economic harm such as pain and suffering.

The Baseball Rule

Colorado, however, like most other states, limits team and stadium-owner liability through a statute commonly known as the Baseball Rule. Under the Baseball Rule, a baseball team or stadium owner meets its duty of due care to patrons by installing screening in the most dangerous areas of the stadium or arena — almost every baseball stadium has such screens behind home plate.

Additionally, if you choose to sit in an unscreened or unprotected area in the stadium or arena, you are generally assumed to have undertaken the risk of being hit by objects such as fly balls and thrown bats during the game (and pre-game).  This assumption provides a potential “out” for owners and means that you may be attending games your own risk. Fans should also be aware that the Baseball Rule concept is not limited to baseball — it has been applied to other sports such as hockey and basketball.

If you are injured while attending a baseball game or other sporting event, your first priority should be to seek medical help. Afterwards, you or your family should contact an experienced personal injury attorney. For more than 20 years, attorneys at Bell & Pollock, P.C., have helped injured Coloradans recover what they deserve.