More stringent standards have been set in recent years for the construction and maintenance of bleachers to curtail the number of accidents and injuries caused by common mishaps that occur when occupants enter and exit them and move to and from their seats. Many of the bleachers currently in use were constructed prior to the release of these new standards, however, and still pose significant risk of injury if they have not been retrofitted to the current specifications demanded. If the failure to bring bleachers up to current standards results in an accident, it is the responsibility of the owner to provide compensation to those injured for the cost of medical care and out of pocket expenses.
Common Bleacher Hazards
Bleachers need to be constructed in a manner that will accommodate the varied needs of numerous spectators of different ages, weights and heights. Common hazards stemming from flawed bleacher design or construction include the following.
- Slip and fall hazards— poorly built bleachers do not provide adequate traction and occupants may slip if the surfaces are wet or covered with ice and snow.
- Tripping hazards— many bleacher accidents are the result of tripping over a step or when entering or exiting the bleachers.
- Bleacher tip over— improper weight distribution or overcrowding may cause bleachers to tip over, causing injuries to numerous spectators who are in the bleachers at the time they fall over.
- Lack of guardrails— without proper guardrails it is possible for occupants to fall off the sides of bleachers or from the top row and it is important that guardrails are inspected regularly to ensure that they are not loose or insecure.
- Bleacher collapse— occupancy in excess of what the bleachers are capable of safely accommodating, poor workmanship and materials and general design flaws can cause bleachers to collapse, bringing harm to all who are sitting in them at the time of the collapse.
- Openings in the seats— older bleacher designs may include openings between the seats and the floor that would allow a child to fit through the open space and fall under the bleachers. This could result in mild to severe injuries depending on the height of the fall and the angle of contact with the ground.
- Poor or worn anti-skid materials— enough traction must be provided to prevent slip and fall accidents without also presenting a tripping hazard. Poorly designed or implemented antiskid measures can exacerbate the risk of trip, slip or fall injuries.
It is the responsibility of whoever owns facilities where bleachers are present to retrofit existing bleachers or install new ones that meet current standards and to perform routine inspections in order to ensure that the bleachers are safe for everyone who uses them.
If anyone is injured while using the bleachers, the owner may be held liable if it can be proven that the accident could have been prevented or that the condition of the bleachers made the injury worse than it would have been otherwise. In addition, the manufacturer or the bleachers or property management company may bear responsibility if it is determined the bleachers were not maintained regularly or inspected for signs of wear.
If you have been injured in an Illinois bleacher accident, you may be entitled to compensation for the cost of your medical bills, out of pocket expenses and your pain and suffering. Contact the Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers to speak with an attorney about your rights and to schedule a free consultation so that we can evaluate the finer details of your case, launch a thorough investigation into the matter and determine whether the property owner was at fault for your injuries. At this point, we can discuss your options and guide you through the legal process so that you know exactly what you can expect every step of the way.
If we should fail to collect compensation on your behalf, our legal advice and services will be free of charge.