NASCAR Settles Brain Injury Lawsuit
NASCAR has agreed to a settlement with a fan who was injured by flying debris from a crash during a NASCAR race in 2013. On February 23, 2013, Allen Davis was sitting with other fans in the upper deck at Daytona International Speedway watching a race that was part of the NASCAR Xfinity Series of races. During the final lap of the race, a car driven by Kyle Larson lost control and went careening into the catchfence surrounding the track, sending debris flying into the stands. Davis and several other fans were struck and injured by some of the debris.
According to Davis’s lawsuit, the debris that hit him on the head caused him to suffer a traumatic brain injury that will require special medical attention for the rest of his life. The lawyer representing Davis says that Davis is actively working with rehab facilities and healthcare specialists so that he can live out his life the best he possibly can. The exact terms of the settlement have not been made public.
This isn’t the only time NASCAR has been involved in a lawsuit involving a fan being injured by debris from an accident on the track. Personal injury lawsuits involving spectators of sporting events can be complicated. When you buy tickets to a sporting event, the ticket will typically have disclaimers printed on them stating that the owners of the venue or team cannot be liable for injuries if a spectator is injured by something like a baseball or hockey puck that goes flying into the stands. However, reasonable measures still need to be taken to keep fans safe and there have been lawsuits filed around the country where courts have found that the blanket disclaimers printed on tickets were not legally binding.
Regardless if you’re going to see a baseball game, hockey game, or NASCAR race, you should see protective measures in place designed to protect fans as they watch the game. If you were to go to a Detroit Tigers game over at Comerica Park, you’d probably notice netting in the areas where it’s most likely that a ball could fly into the stands. And if you were to watch a Detroit Red Wings game, there would be plexiglass to protect fans in the lower levels from any stray hockey pucks. By not providing safety measures like these, the venue could be leaving themselves open to a lawsuit.
Not only do venues have a responsibility to provide safety measures to protect attendees, they need to make sure they’re well maintained and are capable of truly protecting fans. If a protective device is defective or didn’t work as it was supposed to because of poor maintenance, that could be grounds for a lawsuit. Following this particular accident, officials at Daytona Speedway announced they would be making changes to the fencing to make it more secure. The attorney representing Davis told the press, “A suit was necessary to promote safety…not just to figure out what happened and how it happened and why it happened, but to make sure that every NASCAR fan, woman, child, is protected.”