Sports Baseball has no legal duty when fan hit by ball

16:10  10 july  2018
16:10  10 july  2018 Source:   thestar.com

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Courts have long recognized the so-called “ Baseball Rule,” which imposes a limited duty on the part of teams to protect fans from foul ball injuries. This legal framework has been in place for nearly 100 years. To be sure, there have been exceptions along the way—particularly when a fan is injured in a

In baseball statistics, a hit (denoted by H), also called a base hit , is credited to a batter when the batter safely reaches first base after hitting the ball into fair territory, without the benefit of an error or a fielder's choice.

Don McCracken went to Toronto Blue Jays' Jose Bautista final home game last fall and was hit in the mounth by a foul ball.© Jon Blacker Don McCracken went to Toronto Blue Jays' Jose Bautista final home game last fall and was hit in the mounth by a foul ball.

Going to a baseball game should be fun. But for Dan McCracken, a Blue Jays fan who wanted to see Jose Bautista’s final home game last September, a visit to the Rogers Centre was a costly experience.

He was hit in the mouth by a foul ball off the bat of Blue Jays catcher Russell Martin. The tickets he bought with a friend were in section 130AR, Row 4, just down from the third baseline.

“The ball hit my front right top tooth,” he says. “The tooth was partially dislodged and I received a few lacerations on my lip that required stitches.”

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As physicist Robert Adair has written, " When a baseball is hit straight at an outfielder he cannot quickly judge the angle of ascent and the distance the ball will travel. If a ball hit into fair territory is touched by a fan , the batter will be awarded an extra base, typically leading to advancing that runner

And the 70-foot extension baseball is suggesting is absurd. Think about it: Where do the hardest- hit foul balls land? An "assumption of risk” doctrine — also known as the “ Baseball Rule” — has been accepted by most courts, and is a reason teams often escape legal liability when fans are

A doctor on site at the Rogers Centre stitched him up and pushed the tooth back into place. A day later, his dentist did an X-ray that showed the tooth was fractured at the root and referred him to a specialist.

Despite a root canal, a titanium brace over his teeth to act as a splint and a rod inside his tooth to strengthen it, the tooth could not be saved and was extracted this past week, on July 3.

This will lead to dental implant surgery, in which the tooth root is replaced by metal screw-like posts and the missing tooth is replaced with artificial teeth.

McCracken, who’s 24 and has no dental insurance, has paid $1,750 already. He expects to pay another $7,500 for the implant surgery and tooth replacement.

Will the Blue Jays help with the cost? This is where it gets interesting.

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NEW YORK -- It was a frightening moment at Yankee Stadium Wednesday afternoon when a young fan was hit by a foul ball and taken to a hospital. In December of 2015, Major League Baseball recommended to teams that they "implement netting that shields from line-drive foul balls all

Major League Baseball teams have been shielded from lawsuits for injuries caused to spectators by foul balls, or pieces of shattered bats, for the past 100 years.

U.S. courts have ruled that the duty of care owed to spectators is limited to providing reasonable protection in the form of screening behind home plate.

This means you, the fan, are responsible to protect yourself from harm. If you choose to view a baseball game in an unscreened area, you assume the risk of being struck by balls entering the stands in ordinary play and pregame warm-ups.

Until recently, most baseball parks had netting behind home plate that reached only the beginning of the dugouts, leaving many seats exposed to foul balls and shattered bats.

In 2015, after a woman was seriously injured by a shattered bat at Boston’s Fenway Park, MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred urged teams to extend the screens at least to the near end of each dugout. A third of the teams did so.

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And on her forehead, he said, was an imprint left by the stitches of the baseball that hit her. The ball ’s speed was measured at 105 miles per hour when it left his bat. Frazier, who has a son and a daughter who are close in A Fine Line Separates Ball and Fan (and Injury). April 15, 2016. Image.

Things changed after a New York game on Sept. 20, 2017, when a 2-year-old girl was hit in the face by a line drive foul ball by Yankees player Todd Frazier. She sustained serious injuries. Her father says she is still traumatized.

“The ball’s speed was measured at 105 miles per hour when it left his bat,” the New York Times said about the incident.

The Yankees acted quickly. On Oct. 1, 2017, they promised to significantly expand the netting at both Yankee Stadium and the team’s spring training park at Tampa, Fla., in time for the 2018 season.

Most MLB teams followed suit, though not required to do so. This is unlike the National Hockey League, which brought in mandatory protective netting after a 13-year-old girl was killed in 2002 at a game in Columbus, Ohio.

If you go to a Blue Jays game at Rogers Centre, you will find 5,000 more seats are shielded from foul balls. Dan McCracken’s seat, alas, was not one of them.

“I was fully attentive to the game,” he says, aware that he was assuming a risk by sitting close to the action.

“The ball was hit so hard and curved so dramatically at the last second that I had no chance to react and protect myself.

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“That is a longstanding legal principle that fans who chose to sit where balls or shards of bat could hit them have a duty to pay attention for their own The Baseball Rule was devised in the early part of the 20th century when baseball was played at a much slower pace, said Martin W. Healy, chief legal

Second, specifically with regards to baseball stadiums, operators have no duty to construct continuous protective screening beyond what is required behind the home plate. But most lawyers think the general rule is simply that a fan who gets hit by a foul ball cannot recover.

“I remember seeing the ball off the bat, seeing the ball travel almost directly parallel to the third base foul line (which was about 30 to 50 feet away from me) and then, in what seemed like the blink of an eye, the ball hit me in the face.”

He contacted the Blue Jays last October to ask about compensation. He was told some costs might be covered if he gave regular updates about the tooth.

After eight months, McCracken still had no answers and wrote to me. I asked both Rogers and the Blue Jays to review the case.

The team eventually sent an apology to McCracken for the poor communications, saying his injury and request for help wasn’t treated with the urgency it deserved.

And, yes, the team did agree to pick up a small part of the $9,250 estimated cost of a dental implant. It could go higher once the work is completed in 2019.

“The Blue Jays offered $1,282.50, much lower than I would have liked, but I feel like I don’t have many options, so I will have to accept,” McCracken told me.

His advice to other fans is simple. Pick seats that are behind the protective netting or up top somewhere.

My advice: Don’t assume being watchful can protect you from getting hit by balls propelled by skilled batters at high speeds.

Remember that baseball teams will say they have no legal duty to protect you from harm if you don’t sit in the protected area.

You will have to keep asking for reimbursement or try filing a lawsuit that you may likely lose.

Ellen Roseman is a columnist based in Toronto covering consumer affairs. Follow her on Twitter: @ellenroseman

Roberto Osuna looking forward to Jays return, lawyer says at courthouse .
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