Business Law Homework

90 UNIT ONE The Legal Environment of Business

hip. While she is waiting for help to arrive, a small aircraft crashes nearby and explodes, and some of the fiery debris hits her, causing her to sustain severe burns. Derrick will be liable for the damages related to J"]r.. r_ fractured hip, because the risk oflnluring her with his bicycle was foreseeable. Normally, Derrick will not be liable for the burns caused by the plane crash-because the risk of a plane crashing nearby and iniuringJulie was not foreseeable. {

Contributory Negligence

All individuals are expected to exercise a reasonable degree oJ care in looking out for themselves. In the past, under the common law doctrine of contribuiory negligence, a plaintiff who was also negligent (failed to exercise a reasonable degree of care) could not recover anything from the defendant. Under this rule, no mat_ ter how insignificant the plaintiff,s negligence was rela- tive to the defendant,s negligence, the plaintiff would be precluded from recoverlng any damagis. Today, only a few jurisdictions still hold to this doctrine.

Comparative Negligence

In most states, the doctrine of contributory negligence has been replaced by a comparative negtigence standard. Under this standard, both the itaintiff,s and the defendant,s negligence ur. .o*prt.d, and the liability for damages is distdbuted accordingly. Some furisdictions have adopted a ,,pute,, form of comparative negligence that allows the plaintiff to recover/ even if the extent of his or her tault is greater than that of the defendant. Under pure comparative negligence, if the plaintiff was g0 pelcent at fiult and the defendant 20 percent at fautt, the plaintiff may recover 20 percent of hls or her damages. Many states' comparative negligence statutes, however, contain a ,,5b percent, r"utE that prevents the plaintiff fiom recovering any damages if she or he was m-ore than 50 percent at fault. Unier this rule, a plaintiff who is 35 percent at fault could recover 65 percent of his or her damages, but a ptaintiff who is 65 percent (more than 50 percent) ai fault could recover nothing.

Elaine Sweeney went to Ragged Mountain Ski Resort in New Hampshire with a friend. Elaine went snow tubing down a snow-tube run designed exclusively for snow There were no Ragged Mountain employees present in the snow-tubi area to instruct Elaine on the proper use of a snow tube. on her fourth run down the trail, Elaine crossed over the center tine between snow-tube lanes, collided with another snow tuber, and was injured. Elaine filed a negligence action against Ragged Mountain seeking compensation for the injuries that she sustained. rwo.-yeirs earlier, the New Hampshire state legislature had enacted a statute that prohibited a person who paiticlpates in'the sport of skiing from suing a ski- area operator for injuries caused by the risks inherent in skiing. Using the informati8n presented in the chapter, answer the following qr"stiors.

1. What defense will Ragged Mountain probably assert? 2' The central question in this case is whether the state statute establishing that skiers assume the risks inherent in the sport bars Elaine's suit. what would your declsion be on ihis il;t 141]f;? 3' Suppose that the court concludes that the statute applies only to skiing and not to snoia,r tubing. will Elaine's lawsuit be successful? Explain. 4' Now suppose that the lury conitudes that Elaine n'as partiy at fault for the accident. under what theory might her damages be reduced in proportion to the degree to which her actions contributed to the accident and her resulting injuries?