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Nicolet Law managing attorney Russell Nicolet

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The Liability of a Foul Ball

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The Liability of a Foul Ball

Man waiting to catch a foul ball in a baseball stadium

As the leaves begin to fall, the post-season of America's favorite pastime gains momentum as fans pack stadiums across the country to catch a glimpse of post-season history. But for some fans, the excitement of a game is crushed when a ball comes off the bat only to hit someone in the stands. When this tragedy occurs, the question asked is, "Who is liable?" Unfortunately, that answer is not a simple one.

Assumption of Risk

When you enter a baseball stadium, you assume a number of risks, most of which are outlined on the back of your ticket. These risks are printed on each ticket to protecting the stadium, teams, and players from lawsuits when a foul ball hits someone in the stands. In order for that injured fan to recover in a lawsuit, they would need to prove that the stadium was negligent. They must show that (1) the stadium had a duty to take reasonable care to protect its patrons; (2) the stadium violated their duty; and (3) the stadium's violation led to the injuries you received. While a foul ball does not generally fall into this, the injured fan would recover if they could show the stadium failed to maintain the facility, netting or other fan protections.

The Baseball Rule and Extended Stadium Netting

A long-established legal principle called "The Baseball Rule", prohibits a fan injured by a baseball or shards of a broken bat, from making a claim against the team or the owner of a stadium. But with the occurrence of injuries this season, many players and teams have renewed the argument to extend the protective netting to cover the area from foul pole to foul pole. A vast majority of stadiums only maintain netting to the team dugouts. Unfortunately, the Major League Baseball rules and current collective bargaining agreement do not require teams to extend the netting to the foul poles. A decision like this is made on a stadium by stadium basis. While a small number of stadiums have taken steps to extend protective netting past the dugouts, a vast majority of stadiums have not.

While the argument to extend the safety netting continues to unfold, there are a few things you can do to protect yourself while at a game. Most importantly, put the cell phone down and focus on the game. We are more distracted than ever by our cell phones and this distraction causes us to look away from the field of play and that potential ball headed into your seating section. By focusing on the field of play, you not only learn more about the game, but you protect yourself by being aware of what may be coming.

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Nicolet Law Office is honored to have been nominated for numerous awards for excellence in service and client satisfaction. Our attorneys have appeared in such prestigious lists as Top 40 Under 40 and Rising Stars. While we’re thankful to have the support of industry peers and independent third-party organizations, nothing beats the feeling of gratitude we share with clients when we can make a positive impact on their lives.

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Contact us today to request a free case evaluation with a dedicated local attorney. With twelve convenient office locations throughout Minnesota and Wisconsin, accessing award-winning legal services has never been easier. If you have a medical condition that prevents you from traveling, we would be happy to meet you at your home or schedule a private virtual consultation.

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SEE HOW NICOLET LAW MAKES A DIFFERENCE IN OUR CLIENTS’ CASES

CAR ACCIDENT

Offer before Nicolet Law
$50,000.00

CAR ACCIDENT

Result with Nicolet Law 
$1,200,000.00

SEMI-TRUCK ACCIDENT

Offer before Nicolet Law
$75,000.00

SEMI-TRUCK ACCIDENT

Result with Nicolet Law 
$700,000.00

SLIP AND FALL ACCIDENT

Offer before Nicolet Law
$5,000.00

SLIP AND FALL ACCIDENT

Result with Nicolet Law 
$180,000.00

SLIP AND FALL ACCIDENT

Offer before Nicolet Law
$0.00 - denial

SLIP AND FALL ACCIDENT

Result with Nicolet Law 
$159,000.00

DRUNK DRIVING VICTIM

Offer before Nicolet Law
$0.00

DRUNK DRIVING ACCIDENT

Result with Nicolet Law 
$815,000.00

UTV ACCIDENT

Offer before Nicolet Law
$5,000.00

UTV ACCIDENT

Result with Nicolet Law 
$250,000.00
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12 locations in Wisconsin and Minnesota to serve you

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Wisconsin Locations:

EAU CLAIRE:

402 Graham Ave.
Suite 305
Eau Claire, WI 54701

Phone: 715-226-4155
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HUDSON:

517 2nd Street
Unit #205
Hudson, WI 54016

Phone: 715-226-4155
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LA CROSSE:

119 N 19th St S
La Crosse, WI 54601

Phone: 715-226-4155
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NEW RICHMOND:

1500 Madison Ave.
Suite 220
New Richmond, WI 54017

Phone: 715-226-4155
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RICE LAKE:
337 North Main Street
Rice Lake, WI 54868

Phone: 715-226-4155
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RIVER FALLS
215 S 2nd St #20
River Falls, WI 54022

Phone: 715-226-4155
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SUPERIOR:
1200 Tower Ave.
Superior, WI 54880

Phone: 715-226-4155
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WAUSAU:
408 3rd Street
Suite 303
Wausau, WI 54403

Phone: 715-226-4155
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Minnesota Locations:

DULUTH:
306 West Superior Street,
Suite 606 West
Duluth, MN 55802

Phone: 651-427-3331
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HIBBING:
Howard Court Bldg.
302 Howard Street, Suite 123
Hibbing, MN 55746

Phone: 651-427-3331
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MINNEAPOLIS:
225 South 6th Street
Suite 3900
Minneapolis, MN 55402

Phone: 651-427-3331
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WOODBURY:
724 Bielenberg Drive
Suite 126
Woodbury, MN 55125

Phone: 651-427-3331
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