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A Quantitative Approach to Assessing Legal Outcomes in Reported Sport and Recreation Negligence Cases Involving Assumption of Risk

Authors:

John O. Spengler ,

Assistant Professors, Department of Recreation, Parks and Tourism, University of Florida
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Daniel P. Connaughton

Assistant Professors, Department of Recreation, Parks and Tourism, University of Florida
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Abstract

The purpose of this research was to study legal cases which utilised the assumption of risk defence in sport and recreation lawsuits employing a quantitative approach. Assumption of risk has traditionally been an important defence in sport and recreation cases. Generally, those who voluntarily accept a known and appreciated risk when injured while participating in a recreational activity will be held to have assumed the inherent risks associated with participation in the activity. This study sought to identify selected case factors and outcomes in sport and recreation cases where the assumption of risk defence was raised. Published court decisions were selected, and key factors coded and statistically analysed. Variables of interest were categorised as plaintiff characteristics, governing law and situational variables. The variables were analysed using frequencies and cross-tabulation. The results revealed that assumption of risk was a successful defence for sport and recreation providers in the majority (63.8 per cent) of cases. Defendants were especially successful where the defendant was an individual (81.3 per cent), where a statute specific to the risks assumed in a sport or recreation activity applied (77.8 per cent), where the incident occurred in an outdoor remote setting (75.0 per cent), where warnings were provided (72.5 per cent), and where there was no supervision (71.8 per cent). Further research, using regression analysis to determine the variables that best predict case outcomes and to develop a better understanding of assumption of risk for those involved with the management of sport and recreation activities, is recommended.
How to Cite: Spengler, J. O., & Connaughton, D. P. (2003). A Quantitative Approach to Assessing Legal Outcomes in Reported Sport and Recreation Negligence Cases Involving Assumption of Risk. The Entertainment and Sports Law Journal, 2(3), 5. DOI: http://doi.org/10.16997/eslj.131
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Published on 22 Sep 2003.

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