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Beware of drunken fans at football games

Do you cheer for the Jets or the Giants? No matter which team you love to cheer on to victory, there are some things you should realize that could potentially compromise your safety if you attend a professional sporting event.

Research conducted in 2011 discovered an alarming fact about the sobriety of professional sports fans leaving the games venues. Almost 8 percent of fans exiting the stadium after Major League Baseball (MLB) and National Football League (NFL) games were legally drunk. Another 40 percent had a positive blood alcohol content (BAC) that was within legal limits.

A lot of bad things can happen when large groups of excited people get intoxicated. But the question remains — who bears liability for the havoc impaired sports fans wreak on others?

Several years ago, a New Jersey jury handed down an award of millions to a young girl who suffered permanently disabling injuries after an intoxicated driver ran over her after leaving a Giants game. The jury determined that within Giants Stadium a "culture of intoxication" prevailed. Although that verdict was later appealed and overturned, it was a warning shot to pro sports teams owners and premises management that a sea change might be in order.

Drunk and rowdy sports fans can get into a lot more than mischief. Not only do they pose risks to themselves of stumbling down stadium steps or plunging off third-tier balconies, they also put others in harm's way with their negligent actions.

Intoxicated fans can also pick fights with the other team's supporters. A drunken brawl can leave participants or even bystanders hurt or killed. If you were injured at a sports venue by an intoxicated fan, you may be entitled to monetary damages.

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