We are sad to report that on Saturday February 23, 2013, numerous excited fans were injured after a 10 car pileup propelled a myriad of debris into the crowded stands. Approximately 30 onlookers had their day of entertainment cut short by this tragedy. Imagine the horror these individuals must have felt as a wheel from one of the cars actually penetrated the protection fence created to protect the fans.
There is no doubt this incident was tragic. However, the worst part may be yet to come as injured fans may find it difficult to recover any damages as a result of the crash. Why? Event tickets contained a disclaimer stating that ticket holders “assumed all potential risks and released the speedway, its employees, and other associated individuals from liability.”
Could this accident have been predicted? Should this risk have been assumed? Victims may argue that this particular crash was not of the normal risk typically associated with such events. This argument may support the claim that those injured should be allowed to seek damages. However, the likely counter of the inherent danger associated with automobile racing may be hard to overcome.
However, considering that the safety mechanism is place – the protective fence – was rendered inoperable by the flying debris, the victims might be able to challenge that such an event wasn’t reasonably expected. If it was reasonably expected, shouldn’t adequate safety measures have been in place?
If the victims could reasonably demonstrate the safety measures in place were inadequate in face of the potential risks, they could better their chances of winning support. This would require victims to demonstrate that race organizers knew of the potential danger of an inadequate fence and did not take adequate steps to protect their fans.
Regardless of the outcome, we at Ariano & Reppucci, PLLC offer our thoughts and support to those victims of the Daytona crash. We hope that those injured make a full recovery and that race officials use this tragic event to make tracks nationwide safer for their spectators.