Blackhawks Fan Sues One Year After Game 1 Puck Hit Her in the Face

Burr Ridge doctor Patricia Higgins filed a lawsuit Friday against the United Center accusing the arena of negligence.

Patricia Higgins immediately after being struck in the face (right) and shortly thereafter. | NBC Chicago
Patricia Higgins immediately after being struck in the face (right) and shortly thereafter. | NBC Chicago

The Chicago Blackhawks may have won the Stanley Cup last year, but the Game 1 puck that struck a Burr Ridge woman in the face was no good luck charm.

At least not for Patricia Higgins who is suing the United Center.

Higgins, 55, alleges the United Center failed to maintain and inspect safety nets that would have prevented "injury to spectators."

The suit was filed Friday in Cook County Circuit Court.

Higgins, a doctor, has been a season-ticket holder for more than a decade. She and her daughter were sitting in Row 11 on June 12, 2013, the night of Game 1.

"I'll be fine. Everybody just needs to cheer on the Blackhawks and make them win," she said last year after getting hit in the face. "Take Tylenol if your head hurts. That's all I can say."

About a month after the game, a fellow spectator who picked up the puck after it smashed into Higgins' face gave the puck to her.

Now, in suing the United Center, Higgins claims she “sustained injuries, suffered pain, lost wages and medical bills, and will continue to suffer such damages in the future,” according to the lawsuit.

She declined to speak to the Chicago Sun-Times.

» watch video at via NBC Chicago

Bill Durks July 17, 2014 at 09:22 AM
Oh boo hoo hoo. I have no sympathy for this pig. She should consider herself lucky it didn't hit her in the teeth. Oh, and Doc, you are obese. Go on a diet.
Janet Joliat Dahl July 17, 2014 at 05:07 PM
I am a close friend of Patty, and the damage to her life is inestimable. At first she believed the headaches would abate. They did not. She is a doctor, who has always worked in trauma, and the puck hit her olfactory nerves. Now she has vision complications that make it impossible for her to confidently suture, and she cannot smell at all- and smelling is a key component of diagnosing many illnesses. Her sense of taste will always be jumbled by the impact of the puck to the front of her head. It is possible she will never work again. I would imagine that her disability insurer requires that she investigate all options before they settle any claims. She has been a rabid Blackhawk fan for years, and the comments here are inexcusably unkind. She has spent a year trying every avenue of medicine to get her life back. She is an optimistic person and held out hope that she would improve. How can people be so unkind and dismissive of a person's loss of a profession? If a Blackhawk suffered a career ending injury, there would be sympathy and outrage.
Just Me! July 20, 2014 at 04:01 PM
Janet- while I can empathize with what your friend is going through. I still can not believe that the thought even crossed her mind to sue for this. As someone else posted, if you break a leg skiing are going to sue the lodge? There are risks that everyone takes in all activities that we do when we walk out the door. If it sounds cruel I can't apologize, but this sounds like just another sue happy cituation that your friend is choosing to partake in. Whether waiting a year or not. I would think she of all people being a M.D. Would have a great understanding, she pays a huge premium in Liability Insurance just to practice medicine. Her premium is high because of frivolous lawsuits, hence if she wins her lawsuit (for an activity she chose) who will pay? The fans with higher ticket prices.
KIMBER45 July 21, 2014 at 11:43 PM


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