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Who's Liable for NASCAR Crash That Injured 28?

By Andrew Lu | Last updated on

On the eve of the Daytona 500, a horrific multicar NASCAR crash at the Daytona International Speedway injured 28 fans.

The accident occurred on the final lap of a Nationwide Series race when Kyle Larson's car flew into the frontstretch catch fencing on the turn, reports ESPN. The front end of Larson's car was cut in half and pieces of the vehicle flew into the stands injuring fans.

Fourteen of the injured spectators were treated on site for relatively minor injuries. The other 14 injured spectators where were taken off-site including two fans who were in critical condition. As investigators continue to look into the accident, you may be wondering whether NASCAR bears any legal responsibility for the injuries.

For most sporting events like baseball games, you agree to a waiver against most liability claims by simply purchasing the ticket. Take a look at the back of any baseball ticket and you'll see plenty of fine print that waives liability for accidents that can occur at a game like flying bats and balls. This same waiver may be present on NASCAR tickets stating that a fan assumed the risk by attending the event.

However, just because you sign a waiver, this does not necessarily mean you have no legal recourse. An argument can always be made that the injury is not one that occurs during the normal course of attending the event. For example, if a stadium collapses as you watch a game, you still may be able to sue the venue -- as one would not expect a stadium collapse.

Similarly, to hold NASCAR liable, the injured fans may make an argument that they did not waive liability claims stemming from a car crashing into the stands.

The problem with this argument may be that these accidents have happened before. And given that NASCAR drivers are travelling at a high rate of speed in a packed course, one could even expect that a car might fly into the stands every once in a while.

If the injured spectators were to hold NASCAR liable for the crash, they likely will have to fight an uphill battle arguing that any waiver they signed does not include the risk of injury from a car, or pieces of a car, flying into the stands.

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