Matt Morgan, the fans’ lawyer, said at a news conference Tuesday that the suit would focus on the safety fence used along the track at the Daytona International Speedway, where a crash injured fans during a race the day before the Daytona 500 .
The identities of the fans considering the lawsuit were not revealed, but Morgan said two of them were seated directly in front of the crash and sustained injuries including a fractured fibula and abdominal swelling when debris from the wreck went flying into the stands.
The central question of the lawsuit will be whether the racetrack avoided responsibility through a liability waiver printed on the back of tickets (or something to a similar effect), or whether the failure of the fence to protect fans makes the track liable.
“If it’s just something written on the back of the ticket and not called to the attention of the person purchasing, there’s reason to believe many courts in Florida won’t hold that they consented efficiently,” said University of Florida emeritus law professor Joseph Little.
Paul Huck, an adjunct professor at the University of Miami School of Law, took the opposite view.
“A ticket to one of these events is like a contract — and its provisions limiting liability are generally enforceable,” Huck said. “We enter into these types of contracts on a regular basis, and we often don’t give it a second thought that we may be limiting or even giving up certain legal rights when we do so.”
Donnalynn Darling, a New York-based attorney practicing personal injury law, said that the fence’s manufacturer at Daytona likely would be “very much responsible” because it was foreseeable that debris could pass through a fence that had holes in it.