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Risks Associated with Tailgating Parties


Fall has arrived, and it is football season once again. Time to pull out the colors to support your favorite team, get out the face paint, and prepare yourself for the cheers and jeers that will envelop the crowd during the game. Time, too, for tailgating parties, and that means hot dogs on the grill, comfort foods galore, crazy fans, and alcohol. Unfortunately, the combination of all of these ingredients can sometimes lead to unexpectedly dangerous moments. So what happens when pre-game activities take a turn for the worse? If you experience serious personal injury due to a tailgating party where dangers were the result of recklessness or where things got out of hand, a local personal injury attorney may be able to help.

Potential Problems

 Whenever people gather, the potential for accidents is ever present. Having open flames to prepare food, vehicles and furniture scattered about in parking lots under camp tents, and enthusiastic drinkers who are rooting for opposing teams all have the potential to cause problems. The obvious issues are things like injuries around the grill, trips and falls around tent lines or folding chairs, food poisoning issues, dehydration or frostbite, and conflicts that escalate with the help of over-imbibing. Naturally, most of these issues are unpredictable. Nonetheless, a certain amount of forethought and planning can limit both the potential for problems, and liability issues associated with issues when they do occur.


Liability for injuries may be spread among multiple entities, including the injured individual, the person(s) directly involved in an incident, and the hosting organization.

First & foremost, spectators and revelers are entitled to a reasonable expectation of safety while attending tailgating parties and sporting events. Premises liability becomes an issue when clear guidelines regarding acceptable activities are not communicated to constituents. At a minimum, issues to be addressed by policy must include:

  • Areas designated for tailgating;
  • Hours tailgating is allowed;
  • Lighting issues;
  • Policies for grilling and open flames;
  • Glass container policies;
  • Expectations for trash removal;
  • Alcohol consumption rules;
  • Stadium re-entry policies;
  • Monitoring protocols;
  • Enforcement procedures.

Even if clear policies are posted and well known, if they are not consistently enforced, a hosting organization may still be held liable for injuries that occur during tailgating events.

Individual liability is another factor to consider. Failing to adhere to posted regulations, or behaving irresponsibly within the confines of those regulations, can be problematic for individuals. For instance, leaving a grill unattended, failing to clean up broken glass, or drinking too much could all lead to serious injuries to oneself or others. And of course, if friendly drinking brings out the beast in someone and tempers flare, the potential for violence escalates.

Following a Personal Injury

In the event the good times took a u-turn at a tailgating party and you wound up getting hurt, contact the experienced and aggressive legal team at the Law Offices of Robert W. Elton in Daytona & Ormond Beach. We’ll look at liability issues and fight for the settlement you deserve.