508 S.E.2d 565 (S.C. 1998)
PROCEDURAL HISTORY: Defendant property regime appealed from a judgment of the Court of Appeals of Beaufort County (South Carolina), which held that assumption of risk had been subsumed by South Carolina's adoption of comparative negligence.
FACTS: On appeal, the property regime argued that the justification behind assumption of risk was not in conflict with South Carolina's comparative fault system. The court disagreed. The court concluded that the absolute defense of assumption of risk was inconsistent with South Carolina's comparative negligence system.
The court concluded that a plaintiff's conduct in assuming a risk could be compared with the defendant's negligence and that a plaintiff's conduct in assuming the risk could be made a part of the comparative fault system.
The court stated that even if the injured party assumed the risk of injury, he would not be barred from recovery unless his negligence exceeded the defendant's negligence. Therefore, a plaintiff was not barred from recovery by the doctrine of assumption of risk unless the degree of fault arising therefrom was greater than the negligence of the defendant. To the extent that any prior South Carolina cases were inconsistent with this approach, they were overruled. The approach was to be applied to the case at bar and prospectively, only. The court held that the case raised issues for the jury.
CONCLUSION: Judgment for the injured party was affirmed as modified. The conclusion that a plaintiff was not barred from recovery by the doctrine of assumption of risk unless the degree of fault arising therefrom was greater than the negligence of the defendant was to be applied to the case at bar and all future suits.
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