As a true St. Louis Cardinals baseball fan, I am always rooting for a good home run. That being said, even I will concede a certain bitter-sweetness when that ball ends up hitting someone. Luckily, in that particular case (a Kozma home run), the woman, apparently abandoned by her boyfriend as he dodged the not-so-metaphoric bullet, was not injured. However, frequently, especially in baseball and hockey games, fans do get injured by balls or pucks. In order to deny any liability, owners and operators of sporting venues involved in personal injury law suits will assert an assumption of risk defence.

According to Barron’s Canadian Law Dictionary, “In the law of torts, assumption of risk is an affirmative defence used by the defendant to a negligence suit in which it is claimed that plaintiff had knowledge of a situation obviously dangerous to himself and yet, impliedly or expressly, assented voluntarily to expose himself to the hazard created by the defendant, who is thereby relieved of legal responsibility for resulting injury.”

Owners and operators of sporting venues take advantage of this defence, and will disclaim any liability by warning spectators on admission tickets. Furthermore, announcers will frequently remind fans to be aware of wayward pucks and balls. Because most fans are aware of the risks involved in watching a game, most courts will dismiss a personal injury lawsuit claiming damages for injuries sustained at a sporting event.

That is not to say there are no exceptions. Owners must still check for proper maintenance of the facilities, and must ensure that the premises is safe. Owners may also be liable if the injury is a result of an unforeseeable event.

So while we should continue to avail ourselves to the pleasures of cheering our teams in a hotbed of passionate revelry, we should also be constantly cautious of the dangers that may occur. That, or we should get more chivalrous partners.

If you feel that you were a victim of a personal injury, call the law firm of Bergel, Magence at 416-665-2000. They will represent you with the utmost loyalty.