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Personal Injury Law – Assumption of the Risk

Personal Injury Law Assumption of the Risk

Assumption of the risk is a legal term in the law of torts which refers to a defense to either prevent or reduce a plaintiff’s right of recovery in a lawsuit. This defense may become an issue in some personal injury cases, and could significantly impact your ability to recover money. To prove assumption of the risk, a defendant must demonstrate that the plaintiff voluntarily and knowingly assumed the risks at issue inherent to the dangerous activity in which he/she was participating at the time of the injury. Simply put, the defendant must show that the plaintiff knew that the activity he/she was participating in that led to the injury was dangerous and he/she did it anyway. Even if the plaintiff was not fully responsible for his/her injuries, if a defendant can prove that the plaintiff did something that at least in part caused him/her to suffer injuries, then this could negatively impact your ability to recover. Assumption of the risk can be a factor in many types of normal personal injury cases, from car wrecks to dog bite injuries. In the Supreme Court case Ford v. Gouin, the court applied the doctrine of assumption of the risk to hold the driver of a ski boat was not liable for injuries to a skier he was towing when the boat got too close to the shore and the skier was taken out by an overhanging tree limb. The court declared that since the driver did not intentionally injure the skier and his driving was not so reckless as to be outside the range of ordinary activity involved in the sport, there was no duty of care and the doctrine of assumption of risk applied to bar any liability. The only way a person can know for certain if assumption of the risk could be an issue in their personal injury case is to consult a lawyer at the Pinkerton Law Firm about this very technical legal issue.

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