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  • Writer's pictureAdam Funk

Assumption of the risk: What you need to know


Assumption of the risk is a legal doctrine that can bar a plaintiff from recovering damages in a personal injury lawsuit. The doctrine holds that if a plaintiff voluntarily and knowingly exposes themselves to a known danger, they cannot recover damages for injuries that result from that danger.

Assumption of the risk can be either express or implied. Express assumption of the risk occurs when a plaintiff signs a waiver or other document that releases the defendant from liability. Implied assumption of the risk occurs when a plaintiff's conduct shows that they were aware of the danger and voluntarily exposed themselves to it.

Examples of assumption of the risk

Here are some examples of assumption of the risk:

  • A skydiver signs a waiver before jumping out of a plane.

  • A skier skis on a closed trail.

  • A customer slips and falls on a wet floor in a grocery store, but they saw the wet floor sign and chose to proceed anyway.

  • A spectator at a sporting event is hit by a foul ball, but they knew that there was a risk of being hit by a foul ball when they chose to sit in the field level seats.

Exceptions to the assumption of the risk doctrine

There are a few exceptions to the assumption of the risk doctrine. For example, a defendant cannot rely on the assumption of the risk doctrine if they acted intentionally or recklessly. Additionally, a defendant cannot rely on the assumption of the risk doctrine if they had a duty to warn the plaintiff about the danger.

What to do if you are injured in an accident

If you are injured in an accident, it is important to speak with a personal injury lawyer to discuss your legal rights and options. A personal injury lawyer can help you determine whether the assumption of the risk doctrine applies to your case and whether you may be able to recover damages.

Here are some additional things to keep in mind:

  • The assumption of the risk doctrine is a complex area of law, and it is important to have an experienced personal injury lawyer on your side if you are facing an assumption of the risk defense.

  • The assumption of the risk doctrine is not an absolute defense. There are a number of exceptions to the doctrine, and a personal injury lawyer can help you determine whether any of these exceptions apply to your case.

  • Even if the assumption of the risk doctrine does apply to your case, you may still be able to recover damages from the defendant. For example, if the defendant acted intentionally or recklessly, or if they had a duty to warn you about the danger, you may be able to recover damages even though you assumed the risk.

If you have been injured in an accident, do not hesitate to contact a personal injury lawyer to discuss your case. A personal injury lawyer can help you understand your legal rights and options and can fight for the compensation you deserve.

Here are some additional tips for dealing with an assumption of the risk defense:

  • Gather as much evidence as possible to support your case. This may include medical records, eyewitness testimony, and photographs of the accident scene.

  • Be prepared to explain why you believe you did not assume the risk in your case. For example, you may explain that you were not aware of the danger, or that you did not have a choice but to expose yourself to the danger.

  • Be patient. Personal injury cases can take time to resolve, especially if the defendant is raising an assumption of the risk defense.

Assumption of the risk is a complex area of law, but it is important to understand your legal rights and options if you have been injured in an accident. By speaking with a personal injury lawyer, you can learn more about the assumption of the risk doctrine and how it may apply to your case.

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