While you cheer on the Padres or Gulls, the last thing on your mind is a serious injury. However, dozens of sports fans in San Diego end up in the hospital for spectator-related injuries every year. Balls, bats, pucks, and other types of equipment can fly into the audience and cause serious injuries – not to mention potential injuries from slippery bleachers, busy stadium parking lots, spoiled food, and intoxicated individuals picking fights. If you suffer an injury at a baseball, football, hockey, soccer, or other sports game in San Diego, here’s what to do.
#1. Gather Information
First, know that there is a chance someone else is liable for causing your injury. Lax establishment rules, poor stadium maintenance, reckless fans, and many other parties might have contributed to your accident. With this in mind, make it your job to collect as much information about the incident as possible. If you need immediate medical attention, ask a friend to gather information at the scene for you. Try to get the following:
- Names and contact information of any witnesses.
- Witness statements.
- Photographs of the injury, property hazards, or other important elements.
- Description of what happened while it’s still fresh in your mind.
- Name of the employee to whom you reported the incident.
The more you know about your accident, the better. You might have to build a premises liability case later on with the facts you gather at the scene. If a sporting event employee files an accident report, request a copy to keep for your personal files. Also, keep copies of any police reports, medical records, and bills relating to your injuries.
#2. Report the Accident
Tell an authority at the sporting event what happened to you. Find an employee of the establishment and ask to file an official report of the incident. Explain what happened in detail, making sure to give your side of the story if there is more than one. An official report will serve as proof and documentation that the accident happened and help keep the details straight throughout the later claims process.
#3. Request Medical Attention
A foul ball striking you, a slip and fall somewhere on the grounds, a vehicle collision in the parking lot, or a drunk fan taking a swing can all result in serious injuries. As soon as you suspect you have an injury, request medical attention. There will likely be a medic on site available to help you. If not, go to the nearest hospital. Prompt medical care is important not only for your physical health, but also for an insurance or personal injury claim. It’s proof that an injury did occur, and that it was serious enough to require immediate attention.
#4. Discuss Liability with an Attorney
Sporting event injuries typically fall into two main categories: 1) injuries from flying equipment and 2) injuries from property hazards. If something hit you during the game, you might have a claim against the stadium owner. However, the owner must have been negligent in causing or contributing to your injuries. When you purchase a ticket, you automatically agree to assume the risk of something like a ball or puck hitting you. This limits the liability of the stadium owner, but it does not mean he or she is always safe from lawsuits. There are exceptions – particularly if the stadium owner did not meet accepted standards in the maintenance of the property.
Spectator injury claims are complex since they often involve the plaintiff’s assumption of risk. The best thing you can do after suffering an injury at a sporting event is to talk to a personal injury attorney in San Diego. A lawyer can investigate your injury and help you file a claim against the responsible party, if applicable. You could end up recovering compensation for your injuries and related costs. Contact the San Diego premises liability attorneys at Estey & Bomberger, LLP about your case today! (619) 873-4498