The safest place for a sports enthusiast might be in front of the television. In February a crash during the last lap of a NASCAR race at Daytona International Speedway sent 14 spectators to the hospital. In addition to auto racing, spectators have been injured at a variety of sporting events over the course of the last century, including baseball, basketball, and soccer and hockey games. The majority of spectator injuries occur when a flying object is intentionally or unintentionally thrown into the stands.
More recently, ten fans were injured at the Coca Cola 600 race in Charlotte, N.C. when the stays and cables holding the Fox News camera equipment gave way. Unlike in the Daytona case, where every ticket came with a disclaimer stating clearly the possible risk of injury from flying auto parts, the Coca Cola 600 incident has a number of personal injury claims pending.
When a spectator is injured at a sporting event such as a high-speed auto race, establishing fault can be complicated. The following might all bear responsibility in some measure for the injuries caused:
Racecar driver – if he or she did not conform to race regulations or is not properly licensed
NASCAR or the raceway owner – in the event there are violations of industry regulations in pit licensing, construction of safety fence or required distance between raceway and stands
Fence manufacturer – if the safety fence gave way or did not meet regulation height or gage standards
Auto manufacturer – if parts of the car disengaged and flew into the stands
Tire manufacturer – if the accident was caused by a blown tire
Many raceways are protected from liability in personal injury claims as they both comply with the rigid safety standards as determined by each individual state, and issue prominent warnings and disclaimers with ticket purchases. However, if a spectator is injured during an event the injured spectator can bring a personal injury claim.