The group that owns Webster Bank Arena at Harbor Yard was found to be negligent in a premises liability case involving an 8-year-old boy who fell from the stands during a hockey game. A Bridgeport Superior Court jury has ordered the group to pay $200,000 in damages to the boy who is still reportedly suffering from post-concussion syndrome more than five years later.
An Unfortunate Event
The incident occurred in October 2013 while the then 8-year-old and his family were attending the Bridgeport Sound Tigers game at Webster Bank Arena. Before the game started, the boy was leaning against a railing at the edge of the spectator area attempting to give high-fives to the players as they emerged from the locker room on their way to the ice. According to court documents, spectators—especially children—were not only allowed to greet the players at the railing but they were actively encouraged to do so.
As the boy greeted the players, the railing upon which he was leaning gave way. The boy fell and hit his head on the floor below, suffering a concussion, shoulder strain, and other injuries. Fortunately, he was the only person injured by the failure of the rail.
The boy’s parents filed a lawsuit on his behalf against the ownership group responsible for the arena. The suit alleged carelessness and negligence on the part of the owners in not recognizing that children would put their weight against the railing while greeting the players. The lawsuit claimed that the boy still suffers from the effects of his injuries and sought financial compensation.
Attorneys for the ownership group countered the claims by alleging that the child contributed to his own injuries in that “he failed to use that degree of care that an ordinarily prudent person would have exercised for his own safety,” even taking into account his age and maturity. The defense also maintained that the boy’s parents failed to supervise him adequately.
After eight days of testimony, the jury only deliberated for three hours before returning a verdict last month. The jury found in favor of the boy and his family, awarding them $200,000 in damages. The jury did not determine that the boy was contributorily negligent. The defense has until January 6, 2019, to appeal if they choose to do so.
The Importance of Foreseeability
The idea of foreseeability is important in any premises liability case, though it is easier to recognize in certain situations. For example, if a spill occurs in a grocery store and employees fail to clean it up or even to mark the areas, it is foreseeable that someone might slip and fall. Therefore, the store could be held liable for any injuries that occur as a result of such a fall.
In the case described above, it appears that the jury determined that spectators leaning on the rail to greet the hockey players presented a foreseeable danger—one that could have been resolved by securing the railing to withstand the weight of spectators. By failing to secure the rail, arena management left themselves open to a liability lawsuit.
Call a Hartford Injury Lawyer for Guidance
If you or someone you love has been injured in an accident that could have been prevented with reasonable care by the owner of the property, contact an experienced Connecticut personal injury lawyer for help. Call 860-290-8690 for a free, no-obligation consultation at Woolf Law Firm, LLC today.