Whether you are going to the local ball park to watch your son or daughter swing the bat, or you are going to watch a professional baseball team, it can be dangerous just sitting in the stands.
We hear stories every year of horrible injuries suffered by spectators who are hit in the head and face with errant baseballs. The damage can be very severe, and even deadly in some cases. In fact, some professional teams are extending protective netting to areas of the their parks other than behind home plate.
The DeBrigida family has learned the hard way how devastating this type of injury can be. Tracy went to the field to watch her 13-year old son’s baseball game. She sat among other parents and cheered on her son and the team.
However, while warming up for the second inning, a throw from the shortstop to the first basemen went wild, hitting Tracy right in the face. Her husband heard the hit and said he never imagined that it had hit a person. That is, until he looked over and saw blood pouring from his wife’s face. The impact broke her cheekbone, nose, orbital bone, and it cracked her jaw.
Her recovery took months and involved several surgeries. The DeBrigida family sued the youth baseball team claiming that the organizers had failed to “cordon off a spectator area so that spectators would not be in the line of fire”. The suit also claimed that organizers had failed to “secure appropriate equipment that would block errant throws from striking spectators”.
The question for a judge: were the tournament’s organizers negligent for not adequately protecting spectators during the baseball game?
In this case, the judge ruled that the tournament’s organizers did not owe a duty of care to spectators watching the baseball game, and he dismissed the case.
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