Wrongful Death


Liability for Fans Falling to Their Death at Sports Stadiums

  • Nov 20 2013
  • Gilleon Law Firm, APC

Before the kickoff of the San Francisco 49ers home opener, tragedy struck one of fans attending the game. Kevin Hayes was walking to Candlestick Park with his brother when he fell from a pedestrian walkway and died. Witnesses say he appeared drunk. The opening day tragedy was one of more than 24 incidents of fans falling from U.S. stadiums in 10 years. In the summer, a man fell from the upper deck of Atlanta’s Turner Field while watching a baseball game.

Premises liability law rules

Stadium owners, like other California property owners, have a duty to ensure that their premises are free from hazards or dangers that may cause injury or death to fans who attend events. Plaintiffs have to show that stadium owners knew or should have known about the hazard that caused the injury. The determination of liability focuses on the foreseeability of the incident, the way in which the property was used and whether the owner made reasonable attempts to repair the danger or warn fans of the danger.

Responsibility for third-party injuries

Many of the injuries that occur at sporting events are the responsibility of third parties. Responsible parties, either fully or partially, include other spectators or the manufacturers of the defective structures and equipment.

Third-party lawsuits against other spectators

Violent actions by fans against other fans can occur in the following ways:

  • Verbal abuse
  • Obscene gestures
  • Throwing objects, such as food, drinks and bottles
  • Physical attacks

An injured fan can sue the perpetrator for any of the injuries suffered at a sporting event. If the stadium owner could have reasonably prevented the assault, liability may also be assigned to the owner.

Third-party lawsuits against manufacturers

If sports fans are injured by defects in safety nets, protective barriers, railings or bleachers, then injured parties may sue the manufacturers under California products liability law. They may also file a claim against the stadium if they can show that the owner knew or should have known of the dangerous condition.

Our personal injury lawyer at the Gilleon Law Firm, APC has extensive experience representing California residents in personal injury lawsuits. If you were injured at a San Diego sporting arena, call our office to schedule a free consultation.

Free Initial Consultation