Posted by Phoenix Personal Injury Attorney Nick Alcock:
A 25-year-old Houston Texans fan died after tumbling about 60 feet from a fifth-floor escalator at Reliant Stadium during a preseason Houston Texans game. The man fell to the ground floor during Thursday night’s game against the Minnesota Vikings, and frantic witnesses called police to report where his body had landed. Police say the fall appeared to be an accident. Two medical teams working at the stadium treated the man at the scene before he was transported to Memorial Hermann Hospital, where he was reportedly dead on arrival when he got to the emergency room.
Jonathon Kelly allegedly fell to his death while “horse-playing” on the escalator. Police say that the man was trying to slide down the outside of the handrail on the escalator when he fell three stories, landing on the pavement. Not surprisingly, it’s suspected that alcohol may have played a role in the incident.
His death highlights that attending live events like games and concerts can be dangerous as large crowds, plenty of beer, and three-story high escalators do not always mix well. Nevertheless, the Texans fan’s death, while tragic, will certainly not be the last fan tragedy. Just last year, a firefighter in Texas died when he fell 20 feet after trying to catch a ball that Texas Ranger Josh Hamilton threw into the stands. That incident is famously remembered because the firefighter’s nine-year-old son witnessed the whole thing.
With the inevitable fan injury, one may be asking whether the teams or stadiums bear some responsibility for the deaths. Under the theory of premises liability, teams and stadiums may be responsible for providing a safe fan experience for attendees. Many teams abide by certain reasonable safety measures like cutting off beer during the fourth quarter, providing crowd control, and security personnel. However, teams and stadiums are also not meant to act as insurance policies protecting against any and all injuries. If fans get drunk and do dumb things, the team would likely not be liable for resulting injuries.
The Houston Texans fan death is being reported as drunken horseplay gone wrong. If this is the case, it probably would not be fair to blame the Texans for the death.
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