assumption of risk cases in sports

There is no doubt that this doctrine will continue to evolve over time and may eventually be ruled upon by the Supreme Court of California. Heiting & Irwin is working hard to address the issue of the COVID 19 virus. While there are situations in which a party injured while playing contact sports can successfully sue for damages, in most cases courts will find that the plaintiff assumed the risk of injury. Ms. Morgan obtained her Juris Doctor from Chapman University School of Law in Orange, California. The result, therefore, is that if you participate in sports, including golf, you assume the risks inherent with that sport. Assumption of risk arises when a plaintiff knowingly and voluntarily assumes a risk of harm connected with the negligence of the defendant. This is because the person engaging in a sporting activity “assumes” the likelihood of risk at the hands of the co-participants. The rules of each game are designed to minimize that risk … One who participates in sports "assumes the risks" which are inherent in the sport. The Court further found that the plaintiff’s activities were too benign to invoke the doctrine and that, in the circumstances presented, the boat was simply a pleasurable means of transportation and not being used for “sport” as defined in the Reason case. App. Primary Assumption of the Risk in “Sports” Cases Since the landmark case, Knight v. Jewett (1992) 3 Cal 4th, 296, it has been held in California that the primary assumption of risk doctrine applies to those whom participate in sports. There have been some cases where the parties have fought to keep their activities from being classified as a “sport” and thus keep the primary assumption of the risk doctrine from applying. A recent state appellate opinion discusses the concept of assumption of the risk as it relates to skiing. All rights reserved. Selman Breitman Partner Elaine Fresch and Of Counsel Melanie Smith obtained summary judgment in a recent lawsuit in Riverside County Superior Court involving two co-participants in an organized endurance horseback riding event on the grounds that the suit was barred by the express and implied assumption of the risk defense. The Shannon case was one of the first to fight back against the trend of having any activity remotely related to sports falling under the primary assumption of the risk doctrine. On appeal, the Appellate Court for the Second District reversed the ruling, holding that riding a scooter was covered by the primary assumption of the risk doctrine only when the activity involved an element of danger, required physical exertion and skill, and included a competitive challenge – none of these factors was presented to the trial court. As the court said upon “ [c]ompiling all of the distinguishing factors” from the cases, an activity is a “sport” to which the primary assumption of risk doctrine applies if that activity “is done for enjoyment or thrill, requires physical exertion as well as elements of skill, and involves a challenge containing a potential risk of injury.” Yes No Would imposing liability chill vigorous participation? The Court tempered this finding by stating that a co-participant does have a limited duty of care to refrain from intentionally injuring another participant or from engaging in conduct that is so reckless as to be totally outside the range of the ordinary activity involved in the sport. In this personal injury action involving contributory negligence, the supreme court comments on the availability of assumption of the risk where there is a statutory violation and cites case law saying that it is not available in that instance. 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