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NASCAR fans may file lawsuit after Daytona injuries

ORLANDO — The attorney for three NASCAR fans injured last weekend during a race the day before the Daytona 500 says they are exploring a lawsuit, but some experts say they could face obstacles in winning damages.

Matt Morgan, the Orlando lawyer for the fans, said at a news conference Tuesday than any suit would focus on the safety fence used along the track at Daytona International Speedway. He said he hopes to reach a settlement with NASCAR.

More than 30 people were injured Saturday after a wreck in a Nationwide race sent chunks of debris, including a tire, into the stands. Morgan said his clients' injuries ranged from a fractured fibula to abdominal swelling. All have been released from the hospital.

"Ultimately, I believe it would be gross negligence," Morgan said. "We all know that when you go to a race, you assume a certain amount of risk. But what people don't assume is that a race car will come flying into the stands. … That's why they make the fences."

Paul Huck, an adjunct professor at the University of Miami School of Law, said contract law could take precedence. "A ticket to one of these events is like a contract, and its provisions limiting liability are generally enforceable," he said.

Almirola steps in: NASCAR driver Michael Annett needs surgery to repair a fracture and dislocation of his sternum and will be replaced by Tampa native Aric Almirola in this weekend's Nationwide Subway Fresh Fit 500 at Phoenix International Raceway in Avondale, Ariz. Annett was injured in Saturday's wreck at Daytona. Almirola will drive the No. 43 Pilot Flying J Ford.

et cetera

Tennis: Juan Martin del Potro saved three match points to get past Marcos Baghdatis 4-6, 6-4, 7-6 (7-4) and reach the second round of the Dubai Championships in United Arab Emirates, while Michael Llodra upset eighth-ranked Jo-Wilfried Tsonga in straight sets. Top-ranked Novak Djokovic beat Viktor Troicki 6-1, 6-4. … Second-seeded Tommy Haas advanced to the second round of the Delray Beach Championships when Igor Sijsling retired with an injured left ankle. Qualifier Ernests Gulbis beat Tampa resident James Blake 6-1, 6-4. Hours later, fourth-seeded Kei Nishikori became the third player to retire from a first-round match when he pulled out against Ivo Karlovic with a back injury.

Soccer: Cristiano Ronaldo scored twice to lead Real Madrid to a 3-1 win at Barcelona and secure a spot in the Copa del Rey final. … Everton reached the quarterfinals of the FA Cup by beating Oldham 3-1, ending the third-tier club's memorable run with a victory in Liverpool, England.

Times wires

NASCAR fans may file lawsuit after Daytona injuries 02/26/13 [Last modified: Wednesday, February 27, 2013 10:37am]

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