A NASCAR fan injured by flying debris at Daytona International Speedway in 2013 recently filed a lawsuit against the racetrack and NASCAR. The plaintiff claims he suffered a serious, traumatic brain injury when he was hit in the head by the wreckage of a crash that penetrated the protective catch fence between the racetrack and the spectator area.
Driver Kyle Larson’s car was thrown up into the catch fence on the last lap of the Xfinity Series race, sending parts of his engine block and tire assembly flying into the crowd. Over 30 fans were injured in the accident, resulting in dozens of legal claims.
The complaint alleges negligence on the part of NASCAR and Daytona Speedway in the design and construction of a “crossover fence.” A crossover fence is a removable barrier allowing fans and race officials to cross over the track from the grandstands to the infield.
At the time of the accident, crossover gates were constructed from little more than chain link fencing, according to the lawsuit. Attorneys for the plaintiff allege the racetrack’s operators knew the crossover fence to be a weak spot in the barrier meant to protect fans from debris and other projectiles.
NASCAR and Daytona Speedway knew of the dangers yet allowed the removable barriers to remain in order to sell higher priced tickets and increase profits, the plaintiff’s suit alleges. Since the accident, Daytona Speedway took steps to reinforce the crossover barriers, reinforcing the fences with cables and redesigning the walls.
The lawsuit did not list a specific amount of damages. Daytona International Speedway settled many of the lawsuits from the same incident but many claims are yet to be resolved. The Cochran Firm, D.C. is not representing any of the parties involved in this lawsuit.