Understanding Assumption of Risk
Understanding Assumption of Risk
Understanding Assumption of Risk

Understanding Assumption of Risk

The legal landscape is shaped by guiding principles, or legal doctrines, which courts and legal authorities use as a foundation for legal interpretation and decision-making. One such legal doctrine is "assumption of risk." In this brief article brought to you by the Law Offices of Andrew Zeytuntsyan, we look at the definition of "assumption of risk" and touch on some ways it can affect your personal injury case. If you or a loved one has experienced personal injury or loss from the negligence or wrongdoing of another person or entity, then consult with personal injury attorneys to evaluate your case. The professionals at the Law Offices of Andrew Zeytuntsyan offer a FREE initial consultation.

What is Assumption of Risk?

Assumption of risk is a legal doctrine which states that the injured party, or plaintiff, knowingly and voluntarily assumed the risks of an activity or location. This principle is used by defendants to shield themselves of liability, claiming that the injured party is legally responsible for any damage or injury. As you may have noticed, there are two key words: knowingly and voluntarily. In order to use the assumption of risk defense, the defendant must show that the plaintiff:

  • Knew of the risks involved AND
  • Willingly accepted those risks.

Express OR Implied Assumption of Risk

To complicate things further, the assumption of risk doesn't necessarily have to be explicitly agreed upon (verbally or written). There is also implied assumption of risk. Express assumption of risk is easier to prove. For instance, before partaking in a bungee jumping session, the plaintiff or injured party may have signed a waiver which releases the business from liability in case of an accident. Implied assumption of risk is trickier. It does not involve a written or oral agreement. Instead, the defendant claims that the plaintiff demonstrated an understanding of the risks. For instance, riding on a rollercoaster comes with implied risks of injury. Similarly, swimming in a pool comes with implied risks of drowning.

Counter Arguments

Though assumption of risk is a recognized legal doctrine, it does not automatically prevent you from recovering damages. For example, swimming in a hotel pool comes with implied risks of drowning. It is a "foreseeable" risk. However, being drowned by an assailant while at the hotel pool is NOT a "foreseeable" risk, and the hotel can be found responsible. Moreover, there is the possibility of shared liability, where both parties are each found partially responsible for damages or injury. In such a scenario, the defendant's right to recover compensation may be reduced or taken away altogether.

A Personal Injury Lawyer Can Defend Your Rights

As you can imagine, there can be a lot of debate over whether the plaintiff knowingly and voluntarily assumed risk. If you do not have proper legal representation, you can lose out on your rights to a fair compensation. Personal injury lawyers are skilled, experienced, and knowledgeable in taking on the complexities of a case involving assumption of risk. If you would like to consult with a personal injury lawyer in Brea about your case, you can call the Law Offices of Andrew Zeytuntsyan for a FREE initial consultation.

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