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Unconventional Fan Injury While Watching Hockey Game

Hockey has a reputation as a violent sport. Although goals are scored when the puck hits the net, hockey has been known for more hands-on interaction. Some people cheer on players who are punching it out on the ice, but occasionally, it is the fans who risk injury.

If you hear of a fan being injured during a hockey game, you may imagine it is related to a fast flying puck. In some cases, fans are injured when a hockey puck goes above the glass, hitting a fan in the stadium. A Chicago Blackhawks fan found that out the hard way when she was hit in the face by a rogue puck, cutting her above the eye, giving her a concussion and leaving her with sensory deprivation.

Blackhawks fan Patricia Higgins did not blame the team, but did seek compensation from the venue for her injury. After filing a lawsuit against the United Center in Chicago, Higgins sought compensation for medical bills, lost wages, and other damages related to the United Center’s careless and negligent installation of the nets. The arena may try and claim that the boilerplate waiver on the back of the ticket clears them of any wrongdoing. However, the courts often ignore such broad attempts to absolve fault.

This was not the first time the arena was sued over their allegedly defective netting. A year earlier, Chip Green was injured when a puck hit him in the side of the head, causing him extensive brain injury.

In a less conventional injury involving a hockey fan, it was not the puck that went astray, but another fan that fell from his spot, crashing into an unsuspecting spectator below. In the same United Center Arena, John Cooke was enjoying the Western Conference final against the Anaheim Ducks when he was struck from behind.

Cooke filed a lawsuit against the stadium, alleging the drunken hockey spectator should have been thrown out of the arena before he caused the injury. The lawsuit alleges the drunken fan had been “loud, boisterous and unruly” since the beginning of the game. The fan eventually fell over, tumbling down two rows, before hitting Cooke. Cooke now claims a neck injury, which required surgery.

According to the complaint, the drunken fan had been noticed earlier. Other fans had complained about the intoxicated man to ushers, but security failed to remove him from the crowd. Minutes later, the drunken man allegedly fell on Cooke.

Cooke is seeking over $100,000 in damages for his injuries, naming defendants as the Blackhawks, the United Center and At Your Service, LLC, the security contractor.

If you or a loved one has been injured during a sporting event, you may want to contact an experienced personal injury attorney. Your personal injury lawyer will make sure you are compensated for any injury or pain you’ve suffered. At Gilman & Bedigian we have been fighting for injury victims for decades, with a focus on getting you the compensation you deserve, so you can get better and move forward with your life.

About the Author

Briggs Bedigian
Briggs Bedigian

H. Briggs Bedigian (“Briggs”) is a founding partner of Gilman & Bedigian, LLC.  Prior to forming Gilman & Bedigian, LLC, Briggs was a partner at Wais, Vogelstein and Bedigian, LLC, where he was the head of the firm’s litigation practice.  Briggs’ legal practice is focused on representing clients involved in medical malpractice and catastrophic personal injury cases. 


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