A trip to the ballpark to watch the professional athletes in motion is an American tradition. Children learn to love sitting in the stands from their parents, along with learning the all-important aspects of team loyalty. The worst thing that happens to most fans is a bellyache from too many hotdogs and cones of cotton candy. However, sometimes a trip to the game turns much more tragic, such as when a spectator is seriously injured or dies from a sports arena fall. When such tragedies occur in Northern Florida, our Panama City fall injury attorney can help the fan and his/her family seek compensation in a premises liability or other civil lawsuit.
On Monday night, as detailed in an Associated Press article carried by the News Herald, a 30-year-old man fell to his death from an upper deck at Atlanta's Turner Field. Ronald Lee Homer Jr., of Conyers, GA, had called his mother during the Atlanta Braves game to tell her that a rainstorm was relenting and he was heading back inside the stadium.
Added detail in a Tampa Tribune article, notes that Homer fell 85 feet from the fourth-floor balcony where there is a 42 inch railing in place. It was the third death to occur in an Atlanta stadium in the prior year. The Institute for the Study of Sports Incidents, a group that is based at the University of Southern Mississippi and part of the National Center for Spectator Sports Safety and Security, reports that more than two dozen fans have fallen at stadiums nationwide since 2003. Alana Penza, the Institute's director, notes that the accidents are relatively rare, but they are devastating when they do occur.
Stadiums must meet strict safety guidelines. The industry standard, adopted by all 50 states, is the International Building Code. It calls for a minimum of 26-inch high railings in front of seats and 42-inch high railings in open-sided areas. Per Associated Press measurements, the latter would come to the upper stomach on a 6-foot individual; Homer was 6'6".
Our firm handles a wide variety of injury claims and is prepared to help those injured at sports stadiums and other entertainment venues and event spaces. While there is often a liability waiver printed on the back of tickets, including those for baseball games, that does not mean that the venue is immune from all suits. In many instances, the waiver immunizes the venue from certain "reasonable risks." However, venues can be held responsible for injuries caused by negligence, as can any property owner.
Venues may often attempt to blame alcohol consumption and victim's reckless behavior. One response tactic we use in such cases is to show the venue encouraged alcohol abuse and was otherwise negligent, with this failure to take responsibility for innocent spectator responsible for the fall. This ties into the general concept behind premises liability claims, based on a place's duty to maintain a reasonably safe environment, particularly with regard to paying visitors and other business guests.
Whether it is a fall from the balcony at an entertainment arena or a slip on spilled cooking oil at the supermarket, we can help people injured due to a venue's negligence. Please call to schedule a free consultation with Attorney Pittman, our skilled Panama City injury lawyer. Do not assume you do not have a case, and do not agree to a settlement without the help of an attorney focused on protecting your rights.