Torts in Basketball
Basketball players and spectators may be injured during the course of a basketball game. In certain situations, they may be able to recover in a negligence action for their injuries.
An owner of a basketball stadium has a duty to use reasonable care to protect the safety of spectators at the game. This duty includes making safe seats or bleachers available in a location in which the spectators are unlikely to be struck by basketballs or players. However, the owner does not guarantee against such occurrences.
An owner also owes a duty to provide basketball players with a reasonably safe court on which to play the game. Liability may be imposed on the owner, for example, if a player is injured on a wet floor caused by a leaking roof or if he is injured by striking an unpadded post that supports the basket.
An owner may contend that a spectator who was injured by a ball from the court assumed the risk of such an injury, just as a spectator at a baseball game assumes the risk of being struck by a baseball in unscreened seats. However, the owner most likely will not be successful in such a defense because basketballs have less velocity and are softer than baseballs. Thus, basketball spectators do not generally assume the risk of being injured by them.
A basketball player assumes the ordinary risks inherent in playing the game. Such risks include being hit with an errant pass between players and being struck by another playing coming down from the basket after dunking a ball.
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