At least two NASCAR fans who were struck by flying debris at the Daytona International Speedway are planning to sue, according to a lawyer who claims to represent them.
Matt Morgan, of the Morgan and Morgan law firm in Orlando, said he's investigating the wild crash that happened at the Daytona 500 Saturday, which injured more than two dozen spectators. He also confirmed he is representing at least two of the victims, according to FOX 35 Orlando
Saturday's wreck occurred in the final lap of the race when several cars traveling at about 175 mph got tangled up, creating a chain reaction of crashes and sending debris up over the partition between the grand stand and the track.
Driver Kyle Larson's car broke into pieces after crashing into the fence, sending tire parts and fiery engine fragments everywhere. He and the other drivers involved walked away unscathed, but spectators reported injuries. Some were treated at the on-site medical tents and released, while others were transported to area hospitals.
Morgan told reporters he thinks the injuries are the result of gross negligence.
"We know that in 2009, there was a similar crash in Talladega at that point in time," Morgan told News4Jax.com, a Jacksonville, Fla.-based news site. "What we have to investigate is what was done, and was there a safer fence that wasn't put in place because of monetary considerations?"
It's unclear whether, as voluntary spectators, the fans have grounds to sue. What's more, there is a disclaimer printed on NASCAR tickets that reads, "the holder of this ticket expressly assumes all risk incident to the event."
But FOX 35 Orlando legal analyst Diana Tennis said the disclaimer is meaningless.
"Businesses often attempt to limit their liability by putting things like this on the tickets," Tennis said. "Little teeny-tiny writing and no signatures on anything else. It's really not going to be binding."
Tennis also said the list of who could be named as liable in a lawsuit is long: the track, the fence manufacturer, and possibly the pit crews who service the racecars.
Courts generally side with the venue or stadium owner in cases like this. In baseball, there's a "Baseball Rule" of liability that limits stadium owners' responsibility if fans are injured by foul balls or flying bats. Courts in Massachusetts, New York, and Michigan have adopted the rule in the past.
Driver Tony Stewart went on to win Saturday's Daytona 500 race.
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