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Hockey fan places blame for injury on Chicago facility

The World Cup tournament has just wrapped up in Brazil, and Chicago sports fans may now be transferring their interests to other athletic events. With baseball in full swing and football season right around the corner, many fans are more excited about games to come than about events that happened in the past. This is not the case for one fan of local sports, who alleges to have suffered personal injury, while attending an athletic contest.

More than a year ago a 56-year-old season ticket holder for the Chicago Blackhawks hockey team was attending the first game of the Stanley Cup at the United Center. During the game a puck flew from the ice and into the crowd, hitting the woman in the face. As a result of the ordeal, the woman suffered a severe cut to her face that required medical attention.

In many cases, facilities like the United Center demand that spectators waive liability for injuries and assume some risk when they choose to attend live events. In this case, however, the victim has alleged that the United Center was negligent in its use of protective nets to prevent such an accident from occurring. Negligence is a legal theory on which many injury-based claims are established.

The victim has asked for damages to cover her lost wages, medical bills and pain. She fears that she will continue to suffer damages in the future and has also asked for compensation for those losses. A civil court will hear her matter to determine if the United Center was at fault regarding how well it protected its attendees from injuries.

The assumption of risk theory is sometimes a viable defense for defendants in personal injury cases. Nonetheless, parties like the United Center that invite people to come on their property have duties to protect such invitees from serious injuries and harm. A court will have to evaluate how this matter will play out and if the victim is entitled to compensation.

Source: Sports Illustrated, "Blackhawks fan files suit against United Center after getting hit by puck," Sarah Barshop, July 14, 2014

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