PROVISIONS COMMON TO ACTIONS AND PROCEEDINGS IN ALL COURTS
CHAPTER 895. MISCELLANEOUS GENERAL PROVISIONS
895.481. Civil liability exemption; equine activities
(1) In this section:
(a) "Equine" means a donkey, hinny, horse, mule or pony.
(b) "Equine activity" means any of the following:
1. Shows, fairs, competitions, performances or parades that involve any breeds of equines and any equine disciplines, including combined training, competitive trail riding, cutting, dressage, driving, endurance trail riding, English or western performance riding, grand prix jumping, horse racing, hunter and jumper shows, hunting, polo, pulling, rodeos, 3-day events and western games.
2. Equine training or teaching.
3. Boarding of equines.
4. Riding, inspecting or evaluating an equine belonging to another, regardless of whether the owner of the equine receives monetary or other consideration for the use of the equine or permits the riding, inspection or evaluation of the equine.
5. Riding, training or driving an equine or being a passenger on an equine.
6. Riding, training or driving a vehicle pulled by an equine or being a passenger on a vehicle pulled by an equine.
7. Assisting in the medical treatment of an equine.
8. Shoeing of an equine.
9. Assisting a person participating in an activity listed in subds. 1. to 8.
(c) "Equine activity sponsor" means a person, whether operating for profit or nonprofit, who organizes or provides the facilities for an equine activity, including owners or operators of arenas, clubs, fairs, schools, stables and therapeutic riding programs.
(d) "Equine professional" means a person engaged for compensation in the rental of equines or equine equipment or tack or in the instruction of a person in the riding or driving of an equine or in being a passenger upon an equine.
(e) "Inherent risk of equine activities" means a danger or condition that is an integral part of equine activities, including all of the following:
1. The propensity of an equine to behave in a way that may result in injury or death to a person on or near it.
` 2. The unpredictability of an equine's reaction to a sound, movement or unfamiliar object, person or animal.
3. A collision with an object or another animal.
4. The potential for a person participating in an equine activity to act in a negligent manner, to fail to control the equine or to not act within his or her ability.
5. Natural hazards, including surface and subsurface conditions.
(f) "Property" means real property and buildings, structures and improvements on the real property.
(g) "Spectator" means a person who attends or watches an equine activity but does not participate in the equine activity or perform any act or omission related to the equine activity that contributes to the injury or death of a participant in the equine activity.
(2) Except as provided in subs. (3) and (6), a person, including an equine activity sponsor or an equine professional, is immune from civil liability for acts or omissions related to his or her participation in equine activities if a person participating in the equine activity is injured or killed as the result of an inherent risk of equine activities.
(3) The immunity under sub. (2) does not apply if the person seeking immunity does any of the following:
(a) Provides equipment or tack that he or she knew or should have known was faulty and the faulty equipment or tack causes the injury or death.
(b) Provides an equine to a person and fails to make a reasonable effort to determine the ability of the person to engage safely in an equine activity or to safely manage the particular equine provided based on the person's representations of his or her ability.
(c) Fails to conspicuously post warning signs of a dangerous inconspicuous condition known to him or her on the property that he or she owns, leases, rents or is otherwise in lawful control of or possession.
(d) Acts in a wilful or wanton disregard for the safety of the person.
(e) Intentionally causes the injury or death.
(3m) A person whose only involvement in an equine activity is as a spectator shall not be considered to be participating in the equine activity.
(4) Every equine professional shall post and maintain signs in a clearly visible location on or near stables, corrals or arenas owned, operated or controlled by the equine professional. The signs shall be white with black lettering, each letter a minimum of one inch in height, and shall contain the following notice: "Notice: A person who is engaged for compensation in the rental of equines or equine equipment or tack or in the instruction of a person in the riding or driving of an equine or in being a passenger upon an equine is not liable for the injury or death of a person involved in equine activities resulting from the inherent risks of equine activities, as defined in section 895.481(1)(e) of the Wisconsin Statutes."
(5) If an equine professional uses a written contract for the rental of equines or equine equipment or tack or for the instruction of a person in the riding, driving or being a passenger upon an equine, the contract shall contain the notice set forth in sub. (4) in clearly readable bold print of not less than the same size as the print used in the remainder of the contract.
(6) This section does not limit the liability of a person under any applicable products liability laws.
(7) This section does not limit the immunity created under s. 895.52.
895.525. Participation in recreational activities
(1) Legislative purpose. The legislature intends by this section to establish the responsibilities of participants in recreational activities in order to decrease uncertainty regarding the legal responsibility for deaths or injuries that result from participation in recreational activities and thereby to help assure the continued availability in this state of enterprises that offer recreational activities to the public.
(2) Definition. In this section, "recreational activity" means any activity undertaken for the purpose of exercise, relaxation or pleasure, including practice or instruction in any such activity. "Recreational activity" includes hunting, fishing, trapping, camping, bowling, billiards, picnicking, exploring caves, nature study, dancing, bicycling, horseback riding, horseshoe-pitching, bird-watching, motorcycling, operating an all-terrain vehicle, ballooning, curling, throwing darts, hang gliding, hiking, tobogganing, sledding, sleigh riding, snowmobiling, skiing, skating, participation in water sports, weight and fitness training, sight-seeing, rock-climbing, cutting or removing wood, climbing observation towers, animal training, harvesting the products of nature, sport shooting and any other sport, game or educational activity.
(3) Appreciation of risk. A participant in a recreational activity engaged in on premises owned or leased by a person who offers facilities to the general public for participation in recreational activities accepts the risks inherent in the recreational activity of which the ordinary prudent person is or should be aware. In a negligence action for recovery of damages for death, personal injury or property damage, conduct by a participant who accepts the risks under this subsection is contributory negligence, to which the comparative negligence provisions of § 895.045 shall apply.
(4) Responsibilities of participants. (a) A participant in a recreational activity engaged in on premises owned or leased by a person who offers facilities to the general public for participation in recreational activities is responsible to do all of the following:
1. Act within the limits of his or her ability.
2. Heed all warnings regarding participation in the recreational activity.
3. Maintain control of his or her person and the equipment, devices or animals the person is using while participating in the recreational activity.
4. Refrain from acting in any manner that may cause or contribute to the death or injury to himself or herself or to other persons while participating in the recreational activity.
(b) A violation of this subsection constitutes negligence. The comparative negligence provisions of s. 895.045 apply to negligence under this subsection.
(4m) Liability of contact sports participants. (a) A participant in a
recreational activity that includes physical contact between persons in a sport involving
amateur teams, including teams in recreational, municipal, high school and college
leagues, may be liable for an injury inflicted on another participant during and as part
of that sport in a tort action only if the participant who caused the injury acted
recklessly or with intent to cause injury.
(b) Unless the professional league establishes a clear policy with a different standard, a participant in an athletic activity that includes physical contact between persons in a sport involving professional teams in a professional league may be liable for an injury inflicted on another participant during and as part of that sport in a tort action only if the participant who caused the injury acted recklessly or with intent to cause injury.
(5) Effect on related provision. Nothing in this section affects the
limitation of property owners' liability under §. 895.52.
Enacted in 1987, amended in 1995 and 1997.
Reviewed by AAHS in May 2001.
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