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Boston Personal Injury Risk During Recreational Activities

There are many fun and exciting things to do in Boston throughout the year, but in some cases, engaging in these activities could result in serious personal injury. As we head into the fall, there will be people doing all kinds of outdoor activities, such as going to apple orchards, taking hayrides at local pumpkin patch and attending sporting events.  However, even these seemingly safe activities could result in serious personal injury if there is any negligence on behalf of the event organizers or property owners.

Boston personal injuryAccording to a recent news article from ESPN News, a young girl was seriously injured at Yankee Stadium when she was hit in face with a foul ball off the bat of Todd Frazier.  The young girl was sitting in the lower level seating area when the ball hit her in the face.  Using this season’s new technology that measures the hit speed of every batted ball, they were able to determine that the baseball was traveling at 105 miles-per-hour when it came off the bat. 

Following the accident that resulted in a serious personal injury, the game was delayed for about five minutes while paramedics treated the girl and transported her to a local pediatric level one trauma center.  She has been in the hospital for around a week following the incident when her grandfather said she may be released soon.  In this case, the young girl was under age 2, and while she was seriously injured, her father said she was fortunate to have fared as well as she did given the circumstances. Still, he urged those in charge to do was much as possible to prevent this from happening in the future. There have not been any formal accusations of negligence on behalf of the New York Yankees, Major League Baseball or the stadium owners as of the time of this article.

There have been several incidents in the past few years where people have been serious injured or killed at sporting events.  Some of these incidents have involved people being hit by foul balls or line drives, whole bats or pieces of broken bats, or falling off an upper-deck seating section. Following this incident, Major League Baseball (MLB) is once again looking at ways to make the game safer for fans such as by possibly requiring safety nets.

While a few stadiums such as Nationals Park had voluntarily agreed to do so, others have not as it will obstruct partially obstruct the view of fans who sit in the lower levels in very expensive seats.  This is a problem that has occurred in Boston’s Fenway park as our personal injury lawyers can explain.

At these baseball stadiums, there are signs prominently posted that tell fans to watch out for objects leaving the field, however, there is often not much than can be done when a ball leaves the playing field at over 100 miles per hour if there is not a net present.  It is very difficult to react to an unexpected ball even by someone who is in the game and waiting for exactly to happen.  that is why it is so difficult to make the majors a baseball.  The average has very little chance to react quick enough to avoid a line drive, and this is especially true when there is a child victim, or a parent looking after a small child.

In some jurisdictions, there is a defense known as assumption of risk.  This is a defense where the defendant will argue that plaintiff assumed the risk by engaging in an activity that would put plaintiff at risk for the type of injury that occurred. In the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, the legislature did away with the defense of assumption of risk in Section 85 of Chapter 231 of the Massachusetts General laws  (MGL).

Pursuant to the statute, Massachusetts is also not a pure contributory negligence state.  Under a pure contributory negligence jurisdiction, if the plaintiff was even slightly at-fault in plaintiff’s injury, then it would serve as a complete defense to the tortious conduct. Under a comparative negligence jurisdiction, if the plaintiff is in some way negligence in connection with plaintiff’s injury, plaintiff can still recover in a personal injury action, but the amount recovery will be reduced by the amount of plaintiff’s negligence.

For example, if plaintiff was 10 percent negligent in connection with accident, plaintiff will have her damages reduced by 10 percent thus allowing her to collect 90 percent of the total damages awarded by a jury. In the Commonwealth,  pursuant to Section 85, there is a mixed comparative recovery law meaning that if plaintiff is partially negligent, plaintiff can still recovery damages in a Boston personal injury case so long as plaintiff was not more negligent than defendant.

If plaintiff was 49 percent negligent in connection with the personal injury, than plaintiff can still recover, but there can be no recovery if plaintiff was 51 percent or more negligent. While this is a mathematical formula, it may seem hard to assign the correct fault percentages. This is however, what the jury is being asked to do as part of its deliberations in these types of cases.

Most of these cases will settle, and if there is a mutual settlement agreement between the parties, then the doctrine of comparative negligence will not need to be applied.  A judge will generally approve any settlement upon which the parties can agree. In the event that your case does not settle, the best thing you can do is to make sure you have an experienced attorney ready to take your case to trial to fight for the best possible result that the facts of the situation will allow.

If you are injured in Boston, call the Law Offices of Jeffrey S. Glassman for a free and confidential appointment — 1-888-367-2900.

Additional Resources:

Yankees’ Todd Frazier: Girl injured by foul ball improved, could leave hospital, September 24, 2017, ESPN News

More Blog Entries:
Summer Swimming Pool Safety in New England, May 15, 2014, Boston Personal Injury Lawyer Blog