Question: Can fans injured by foul baseballs at a baseball game sue for their injuries?
In our society, foul balls are known by fans to be a potentially dangerous souvenir. The Indiana Court have held that it is well known that it is not possible, at baseball games, for the ball to be kept at all times within the confines of the playing field, and anyone familiar with the game of baseball knows that balls are frequently fouled into the stands and bleachers. Such are common incidents of the game which necessarily involve dangers to spectators. However, danger notwithstanding, it is widely accepted that whether baseball fans are viewed as participants in the game itself or merely passive spectators, one thing is certain: the chance to apprehend a misdirected baseball is as much a part of the game as the seventh inning stretch or peanuts and Cracker Jack.
Injured plaintiffs have argued that the baseball stadiums should be held liable if they failed to install protective screening continuously from first to third base. However, it has been held that baseball stadium only has a limited duty to provide protective screening in the area behind home plate where the danger of sharp foul tips is greatest. While baseball is not free from danger to those witnessing the game, the operator of a stadium is not an insurer of its patron’s safety and the perils are not so imminent that due care on the part of the management requires all the spectators to be screened in.