Recent Premises Liability Cases Involving Professional Athletes
There have been two recently publicized personal injury cases involving professional athletes, Reggie Bush, a football player and Genie Bouchard, a tennis player, each with premises liability injury claims. The cases made the news because of the notoriety of the athletes and the alleged negligence, the injuries suffered and the amount of potential damages at issue. In each case the athlete claimed that a known dangerous condition caused serious injuries and damages affecting their respective careers, as a premise liability lawyer in Arizona can explain.
In Reggie Bush’s case he claimed that he sustained a season ending knee injury when he slipped on a concrete ring at a St. Louis stadium, after being pushed out of bounds during a game.
Thereafter, the concrete surface was covered with rubber padding. A jury awarded 5 million in compensatory damages and 7.5 million in punitive damages, it was contended that he was in line for a three year contract before the injury.
Genie Bouchard and the United States Tennis Association reached an undisclosed settlement following her claims for injuries. A jury first found that the tennis organization was 75% at fault for the fall that left her unable to further compete, after she fell in a dark training room after she was in a match. Bouchard said that she was unaware of a slick floor that had been cleaned, she injured her back and her head. After the fall, Bouchard’s rankings drastically dropped, a settlement was reached for her damages claims.
Obviously slip and fall and trip and fall accidents can occur at all kinds of settings, such as stores, office buildings, while shopping, and serious injuries may result. However, the fall and injuries are not enough to support a case.
Negligence by the property owner, or its employees must be established. The Revised Arizona Jury Instructions provide that an owner of business is required to use reasonable care to warn of or safeguard or remedy an unreasonably dangerous condition of which he had notice. Notice may be shown by an employee creating the condition, or employees knowing about the condition, in time to provide a remedy or warning, or if the condition existed for a sufficient period of time that the owner or the employees in the exercise of reasonable care, should have known of it.
Questions in a particular case may include whether the property owner or store knew about or cause the dangerous condition? Was there an opportunity to prevent the existence of the condition, or to adequately warn others? Should an area have been blocked off, repaired earlier, was there a delay in cleaning up a known spill, did an employee cause the unsafe condition?
If the injuries are serious then further evaluation is necessary to consider a number of issues, including permanency of injuries, adverse effects upon employment and activities, past and future lost income and past and future medical bills.
Where permanent injuries are involved it may be appropriate to have a life care planner and an economist address future care and costs.
Generally, claims can be settled with or without the need to file a lawsuit. Following the filing of a lawsuit the case may be settled through a mediation process or resolved by a jury at trial.
Thanks to our friends and contributors from The Law Offices of Paul Englander for their insight into premise liability case involving professional athletes.