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Assumption of Risk Explained

If you are involved in a personal injury lawsuit, it can be helpful to know some of the tactics the defense may try to use. Understanding some common personal injury defense tactics can also help you determine whether or not your case will hold up in court. For that reason, today’s blog post is all about the legal concept of “assumption of risk.”

Picture this scenario: A man is looking for his lost dog. There is an abandoned building near where he lost his dog, so he searches there despite the signs that say “Danger” and “No trespassing.” He is injured on the premises and wants to sue the owner of the property.

In this scenario, the property owner could use an assumption of risk defense. They would claim that because the man saw the posted “Danger” and “No trespassing” signs, he was assuming risk of bodily injury by not heeding the warnings and going onto the property anyway.

Perhaps there were rusty, sharp nails on the property and the man considers it negligent that those were left there. Still it wouldn’t not be considered the property owner’s responsibility to pay him damages because he knew he was risking injury when he walked past the signs.

Essentially, the law states that you cannot recover damages for an injury sustained when you voluntarily subjected yourself to a known danger.

Have you ever been asked to sign a liability waiver before you participate in an activity? Organizers of extreme sports and other activities with inherent risks use these so that they can prove you knew you were taking a risk by participating.

For a successful assumption of risk defense, the defendant must be able to prove two things: The plaintiff knew the risk involved and he or she voluntarily accepted that risk. The acceptance of the risk does not have to be written or even verbal — it can be implied through action. However, their case will be stronger if you signed any sort of waiver.

Have you been injured due to someone else’s negligence? Are you unsure if the person who caused you harm may be able to use assumption of risk as a defense? At Goss Law, we have extensive experience navigating these types of situations. We would be happy to discuss your injury with you and help you determine the best path forward. Contact us today!

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