Skip to main content

Are you a legal professional? Visit our professional site

Search for legal issues
For help near (city, ZIP code or county)
Please enter a legal issue and/or a location

Buffalo Bills Fan Falls From Stadium's 3rd Deck; 2 Injured

Article Placeholder Image
By Aditi Mukherji, JD on November 18, 2013 5:04 PM

A Buffalo Bills fan fell from the upper deck at Ralph Wilson Stadium during the team's 37-14 victory over the New York Jets on Sunday. He's now been barred from the stadium, and may even face criminal charges, Rochester's YNN reports.

Video footage of the incident appears to show the man sliding down a railing before falling over the ledge -- and on top of another person on the second deck.

Both the fan who fell and the person whom he landed on were treated for non-life threatening injuries. But the so-called "Jumper" is now nose-diving into a slew of consequences.

Potential Criminal Charges and Lifetime Ban

Details of the incident are still emerging, but it appears in the video that the man was fooling around before taking his nasty fall. The Erie County Sheriff's Office says charges are likely and pending, reports YNN.

You can see the video here:

Like the victim of singer Miguel's awards show fall, the fan who sustained head injuries could potentially sue the "Jumper" for medical expenses, lost wages, and any pain and suffering.

Bills President and CEO Russ Brandon said the fan who fell from the upper deck clearly violated the stadium's Fan Code of Conduct. As a result, he will not be permitted back into Ralph Wilson Stadium, reports Buffalo's WBFO-FM.

Stadium officials may be using the lifetime ban as an attempt to paint the fan as the sole liable party. But if the fan is eventually sued or criminally charged, his lawyer could potentially try to argue that the stadium's owners are also at least partly responsible.

Premises Liability of Ralph Wilson Stadium

Like any other venue, Ralph Wilson Stadium can potentially be sued under a theory of premises liability, with the fan possibly claiming that his fall was due to an unsafe feature of the stadium's railing.

Although the incident may have resulted from horseplay, if stadium officials were aware of the risk of rowdy fans potentially falling from the upper levels, then they could potentially be held liable -- for example, for failing to create a sufficient buffer or barrier such as a higher railing.

There's also a chance the stadium could "land" in hot water for other reasons, such as not having a safety net installed. After all, from Atlanta's Turner Field to Houston's Reliant Stadium, the phenomena of fans falling -- in some cases, to their deaths -- is not terribly unheard of.

Despite his potential legal repercussions and lifetime ban, the Buffalo Bills "Jumper" should be counting his lucky stars. Just a few months ago, a similarly aged 49ers fan plunged to his death at Candlestick Park.

Follow FindLaw for Consumers on Facebook and Twitter (@FindLawConsumer).

Related Resources:

Find a Lawyer

More Options