In a recent case, the NJ Supreme Court revisited and confirmed the standard of liability of individuals toward each other in sporting events.
The standard is recklessness or intentional conduct, and not mere negligence, when it comes to injuries in a sporting activities. The issue came up in a case involving a number of skiers at Mountain Creek Resort. There one skier collided with another, who sustained serious injuries and eventually died. The party at fault has to be more than just negligent.
The Court wrote the following: “The heightened standard will more likely result in affixing liability for conduct that is clearly unreasonable and unacceptable from the perspective of those engaged in the sport yet leaving free from the supervision of the law the risk-laden conduct that is inherent in sports and more often than not assumed to be part of the game. One might conclude that something is terribly wrong with a society in which the most commonly-accepted aspects of play, a traditional source of a community’s conviviality and cohesion, spurs litigation. The heightened recklessness standard recognizes a common sense distinction between excessively harmful conduct and the more routine rough-and-tumble of sports that should occur freely on the playing fields and should not be second-guessed in courtrooms.” Angland v Mountain Creek Resort, Inc (NJ Supreme Ct 2013)