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§5.04 Tort Law—Assumption of Risk

Lesson 5: Tort & Contract Law

Absent intentional injury or reckless conduct outside the range of the ordinary activity involved, “primary assumption of the risk” completely bars recovery for injury incurred when, by virtue of the inherent dangerousness of the activity, the defendant owes no legal duty to protect plaintiff from the particular risk of harm inherent in the activity.

The general legal duty owed between coparticipants in active sports is simply to avoid either intentionally injuring a coparticipant or engaging in conduct so reckless as to bring it totally outside the range of the ordinary activity involved in the sport. Coparticipants in an active sport bear no liability for injury resulting from risks inherent in the particular sport or from conduct in the course of the sport that is merely careless or negligent. The theory is that participatory sports often include accidental careless behavior; to impose liability for such conduct would likely chill participation in such sporting events and alter fundamentally the nature of the sport.

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