How Does Liability Work if a Fan Gets Hurt at a College Football Game?

Thousands of people at a time pack stadiums to watch their favorite teams play. Since Florida hosts some of the most successful teams in college football, it is no exception to this rule. 

What you might not realize, however, is how frequently fans get injured at college football games. So, what are the legal consequences of an injury?

Premises Liability

Premises liability is the kind of liability that the owner of real property faces, including the owner of a football stadium. The owner (or operator) of premises must keep those premises safe for guests. 

Premises liability demands that the owner inspect the property for non-obvious hazards and either repair or warn of any dangers. The owner or operator of a football stadium, then, must inspect the stadium regularly and make sure it is safe for everyone.

Who Bears Liability for an Injury?

The stadium operators, event organizers, and possibly the college itself can bear liability if their negligence contributes to an injury at their stadium. A good lawyer might be able to find someone else to sue. In any case, these parties should be able to pay even a large personal injury judgment against them.

Common Accidents at College Football Games

Below is a very abbreviated list of some of the most common ways that fans get hurt at college football games:

  • Slip and fall accidents: When you consider how a stadium is constructed, you can expect slip and fall accidents to be quite common. With multi-level seating and alcohol sold on the premises, it is perhaps surprising that they don’t happen any more often than they do. Stadium slip and fall accidents, unfortunately, are often fatal. 
  • Projectile or thrown object injuries: Items like footballs, promotional materials shot into the crowd, or even objects thrown by other spectators can cause injuries. When these incidents occur, they can result in injuries that range from mild to severe, depending on the object and the impact.
  • Overcrowding and stampede Injuries: In extreme cases, overcrowding can lead to stampedes that crush people to death. This sometimes happens because the authorities leave only one entrance or exit for a large number of people to use, triggering panic.
  • Foodborne illnesses: Food poisoning, when accidental, is a form of product liability. Symptoms can range from mild discomfort to severe health problems, depending on the type of illness.

A full list of common fan injuries would be too long to print here.

Defenses That the Opposing Party Might Raise

Defense lawyers frequently apply the assumption of risk and contributory fault defenses to college football fan injury cases. Assumption of risk is typically a full defense against all liability, while contributory fault is sometimes a partial defense. 

Assumption of Risk

Under the assumption of risk defense, the defendant bears no liability as long as the victim knew and understood the risks involved in the activity that generated the injury (attending a football game) and voluntarily consented to the risk. For what it’s worth, a waiver of liability typically appears in fine print on the back of each ticket.

Contributory Fault

The contributory fault defense applies when the victim bears some liability for the accident. If the victim was more than 50% at fault for the accident, the defendant will not bear liability. 

Otherwise, the defendant’s liability may be reduced. For example, as the victim, sharing 20% of the blame can reduce your damages by 20%.

Secure Your Rights and Maximize Your Recovery: Contact a Personal Injury Attorney Today

Florida personal injury lawyers almost always work on a contingency fee basis. That means you don’t pay attorney’s fees unless you get compensation. It also means you pay no money upfront. As long as you have a strong claim, you can secure the representation of the best personal injury lawyers, even without a penny in your pocket. 

Your chances of victory are much better with a lawyer on your side. And even if you would have won anyway, you are likely to win far more compensation with a lawyer than without one.

Contact Our Gainesville Personal Injury Law Firm in North Central Florida

If you need legal assistance, contact the Gainesville personal injury lawyers at Allen Law Firm at your nearest location to schedule a free consultation today.

We have three convenient locations in North Central Florida:

Allen Law Firm, P.A. – Gainesville office
2550 SW 76th St #150
Gainesville, FL 32608
(877) 255-3652

Allen Law Firm, P.A. – Downtown Gainesville
621 W University Ave
Gainesville, FL 32601
(866) 928-6292

Allen Law Firm, P.A. – Ocala Office
112 S Pine Ave
Ocala, FL 34471
(352) 351-3258