Maryland Appellate Court Affirms Dismissal of Negligence Claim Against the NFL and the Baltimore Ravens

Patrons who choose to attend cultural or sporting events on private property are entitled to expect the owners of the property and organizers of the event to keep the premises reasonably safe from dangerous conditions. Although businesses and property owners may attempt to fully disclaim themselves from liability for injuries by using waivers, signage, and other methods, acts of negligence that harm a patron while attending an event still may be actionable in a court of law.

The Court of Special Appeals of Maryland recently entered a ruling in a case that was filed by a patron who was injured at a professional football game in 2015. According to the facts discussed in the appellate opinion, the plaintiff attended a Baltimore Ravens football game in 2015 and was struck by a football that was kicked by a Ravens player during pregame warmups. According to the plaintiff’s complaint, she lost consciousness after being hit, and is suffering from after-effects of the injury to this day.

The plaintiff sued the Baltimore Ravens, the National Football League, as well as the player who kicked the ball that caused her injuries. In her complaint, the plaintiff alleged that the defendants were negligent and reckless by placing her in the situation to be injured as she was. In response to the complaint, the defendants moved to dismiss the charges without a trial, arguing that the plaintiff knew of the risks of attending a game and assumed them by showing up. Furthermore, the defendants noted that the ticket for the game had a disclaimer printed on the back that absolved the defendants of responsibility for injuries that may occur to patrons.

The trial court accepted the defendant’s arguments and granted their motions to dismiss the plaintiff’s allegations. The plaintiff appealed the ruling, and the appellate court agreed with the lower court that the Plaintiff could not make a case. The courts relied on the fact that the plaintiff was familiar with the game of football and should have known that there was a risk of injury for spectators. Additionally, the liability notice on the ticket stub also notified the plaintiff that there were risks of injury and that the NFL, the team, and the players would not be held responsible for such injuries. Because of these factors, the plaintiff will not be able to recover compensation for her injuries.

Although this plaintiff will not be able to recover damages for her injuries, many people who are injured while frequenting business or attending events will have a case for compensation. Liability waivers generally do not absolve business owners or others from liability for gross negligence. Additionally, injuries that are incurred by events that do not occur in the normal course of business for the type of event may be actionable.

Should accident victims talk to a Maryland personal injury lawyer?

Yes, anyone who is injured and thinks they may have a claim should seek legal counsel. Only by speaking with an experienced Maryland personal injury lawyer can an accident victim understand the recovery process. A lawyer can also help you gather all necessary evidence, prepare your claim, and negotiate with the insurance company on your behalf.

Recovering Damages in the Event of an Injury

If you or someone you love has recently been injured by a hazardous condition or someone’s negligence while on public or private property, you may have a claim for damages. Seeking the advice of an experienced D.C. area personal injury attorney from Lebowitz and Mzhen can help you decide how to proceed. Our knowledgeable negligence lawyers have recovered tens of millions of dollars in damages for our clients and may be able to help you too. If you have questions about a possible claim, call us today at 800-654-1949 and schedule a free and confidential consultation with one of our attorneys.


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