Anyone who lives in Chicago knows that sports are taken seriously here. With five professional teams, legendary players, and a history of elite success, fans are fortunate to cheer for their Chicago teams. But this fanfare does not come without risk and when a fun evening turns tragic, it can be difficult to figure out who, if anyone is to blame.
The news has been filled with recent descriptions of fans injured at professional hockey games. With the Blackhawks pushing for a championship and the coveted Stanley Cup, fans have been turning out in droves to watch the games in person. Most of these fans have enjoyed the games without incident but two women have been injured by errant pucks that traveled into the stands.
The fist incident occurred in May when the Blackhawks were facing the Detroit Red Wings in the NHL playoffs. It was game five and the woman was watching the game in person with a friend. A slapshot caused the puck to fly through the air and strike the woman in the head with significant force. The woman was shaken and thought she was fine for a moment but then blood began to run down her head and face. Realizing she was injured, the fan sought medical treatment and learned that she needed five staples to close a gash on her head. She also sustained a concussion and is currently recovering from her injuries.
If this first incident wasn’t bad enough, a second fan was hit with a puck on Wednesday night at the United Center during the Blackhawks’ game against the Boston Bruins. Then, a woman and her daughter were watching the game as a puck flew at them. The daughter escaped injury but the mother was struck in the face and seriously injured. She was transported by ambulance to Rush University Medical Center where doctors stitched a long gash on her face. The mother sustained a bruised retina that left her unable to see immediately after the accident. She now has about 50 percent of her vision and doctors hope that she will regain it fully in time.
Injuries to fans at major league sports events are more common than some may realize. The issue in these cases becomes whether the injury was preventable and whether it occurred due to the fault of someone, including an employee or a company. This is a very difficult determination to make and can take a lot of investigative work and fact finding before the truth is learned.
Some sports teams and venues caution every visitor that any injuries sustained will be at the visitor’s own risk. This is an attempt to remove liability from the sports team or the owners in case someone, like the women mentioned above, does get injured. Though these releases may claim to cover every injury in the park, in practical terms that is not how they operate. Some injuries may lead to a claim for damages while others may not. Since each case is different, it is important to speak with a personal injury attorney to discuss your options and your rights.
If you have been injured while attending a sporting event, call the Chicago premises liability lawyers at Abels & Annes, P.C. for a free consultation. We have an attorney standing by 24 hours a day to take your call at (312) 924-7575 or toll free at (855) 529-2442.
Prior Blog Entries:
Woman Killed in Bridgeport Hit-and-Run Crash, Chicago Personal Injury Lawyer Blog, published June 17, 2013.
Chicago Bike Week Hits the City, Chicago Personal Injury Lawyer Blog, published June 14, 2013.
Fan Hit by Puck Disappointed by Blackhawks, by Rob Elgas, NBC 5 Chicago, published June 17, 2013.
Hawks fan hit by puck at Stanley Cup finals, by Naomi Nix, Chicago Tribune, published June 14, 2013.