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What Is Assumption of Risk and How Does It Apply to My Case?

Posted on February 7, 2023 in

Personal injury cases can be complex and nuanced, with various legal principles and defenses at play. One such defense is “assumption of risk,” which can impact a plaintiff’s ability to recover part or all of your claimed damages. Essentially, assumption of risk means that if a person willingly engages in an activity that involves a known risk of injury, they may be held to be partially or totally at fault for any resulting harm that person suffers. Thus, it is a type of fault for comparative fault purposes. The burden of proof for this is on the adverse driver or party.

At Jensen Phelan Law Firm, our personal injury attorneys can help you navigate the various legal principles you need in order to obtain fair settlements and verdicts. We are committed to aggressively protecting our client’s rights and securing the best possible outcomes for their claims. Work with a firm as committed to your best interests as you are, and contact Jensen Phelan Law Firm today.

How Does Assumption of Risk Apply to Personal Injury Cases?

Personal injury cases arise when one person suffers harm due to the fault or negligence of another. When such cases go to court, the concept of assumption of risk often comes into play. Assumption of risk refers to the legal principle that a person who voluntarily engages in a dangerous activity or knowingly assumes the risk of injury can be held partly or totally at fault for the accident, preventing part or all of the injured person’s claim for damages and resulting harm.

For example, if a person chooses to participate in a high-risk extreme sport, such as skydiving or rock climbing, he or she is assuming the risk of injury that comes with that dangerous activity. If injured, he or she cannot hold the company or individual totally responsible for their injuries, and may not be able to have any success in making a claim depending on the degree of risk assumed.

Assumption of risk can also apply to cases where a person is injured while engaging in a potentially hazardous activity, such as working on a construction site or handling dangerous chemicals. In such cases, the worker may be considered to have assumed the risks associated with their job, and the employer may not be held liable for any resulting injuries except by way of a worker’s compensation (no fault) claim.

Can You Still Pursue Assumption of Risk Cases in Court?

To successfully argue assumption of risk in a personal injury case, the defendant must prove that the plaintiff knew or should have known of the extent of the risks involved in the activity and that the plaintiff voluntarily and knowingly assumed those risks. For example, if a person is injured while skiing, the ski resort may argue that the injured person was aware of the risks involved in skiing, such as the potential for collisions with other skiers or accidents due to weather conditions, and chose to engage in the activity anyway.

There are some limitations to the assumption of risk defense. For instance, if the defendant acted recklessly or intentionally caused harm, the plaintiff may still be able to recover damages, despite voluntarily assuming the risk. Additionally, if the plaintiff was not adequately warned and did not know of the risks associated with the activity, this opens the door to being able to recover damages.

Assumption of risk is an important concept in personal injury law, as it helps to protect individuals and companies from frivolous lawsuits. However, it is also important for plaintiffs to understand their rights, to be aware of any potential risks and to use common sense before engaging in any dangerous activity. If you are injured in an accident and are considering a personal injury lawsuit, speak with an experienced attorney who can help you understand your legal options and the potential impact of assumption of risk on your case.

Retain a Skilled and Experienced Personal Injury Attorney at Jensen Phelan Law Firm 

Assumption of risk is an important legal principle that can impact personal injury cases. However, it is not an absolute defense, and there are still ways for plaintiffs to recover damages in certain circumstances. By working with a knowledgeable and skilled personal injury attorney, you can better understand your legal rights and options and increase your chances of obtaining the compensation you deserve for your injuries.

Don’t hesitate to reach out to our team with over 65 years of combined experience at Jensen Phelan Law Firm for a free assessment of your case and an explanation of your rights. Learn more about your legal options by calling (928) 778-2660 or completing our online contact form.