Many people voluntarily participate in activities each and every day that may result in some form of injury. Some of these activities can be sports related activities such as ski diving, and others may be as simple as working out at their local gym. Many times, when an accident or injury occurs, the person involved will sue to be compensated for their medical expenses, lost wages, and other out of pocket expenses. Unfortunately, they are not always successful, because sometimes they have assumed the risk of the injury. Understanding when and how you assume the risk, may keep you from being in this situation.
What Is Assumption Of Risk?
Assumption of risk is a legal defense often used to reduce or eliminate a plaintiff's ability to be compensated for any injury which occurred. To be successful, the defendant must be able to show that the plaintiff knew of the risk and voluntarily assumed that risk when they participated in the activity. This can be done one of two ways.
Express Assumption Of Risk - This is usually through the use of a written release of liability waiver form. These are the forms that you often have to sign to participate in an activity in which there can be a significant risk of injury. This is standard practice in many fields, and unfortunately, many people sign them without fully understanding the risk they are waiving.
Implied Assumption Of Risk - You do not always have to sign a statement for an assumption of risk to be valid. You can make an oral statement, or even assume the risk through your actions. If the owner of the facility or event coordinator can prove you were fully aware of the risk, but you chose to participate anyway, they may be able to prove you assumed the risk.
Look at the following example:
You purchase a ticket to sit in the lower seats at a baseball game. The ball park has clearly posted that the section you are sitting in is subject to pop flies. You are assuming the risk of injury by a pop fly by sitting there. If you get hit by a ball while you are sitting there, you would have a hard time suing the ballpark or the ball team for your injuries.
- You purchased a ticket for that particular section
- The section was clearly marked warning of the danger or risk
- You proceeded to sit in the section, so therefore you assumed the risk that went along with it
Fortunately, there are some times you cannot assume the risk either through written consent or or through implied consent. Some of these are as follows:
- If circumstances, or situations, force you to assume the risk. Assumption of risk must always be on a voluntary basis, it cannot be done so involuntarily. Your choice may be construed as being involuntary if you:
- Have to be a rescuer
- Lack the mental capacity to understand the risk
- Are not of legal age to contract
- Were ill-informed of the risk
- Are given alternative choices which are impracticable
- Do not have time enough to consider the risk
- If there is any criminal behavior involved
- If there are risks which are completely unforeseeable
Is There Recourse If You Have Assumed A Risk And Get Injured?
There are always exceptions to every rule, and assumption of risk is no different. If you have agreed to assume the risk of the activity you were injured participating in, it does not always mean, the facility or the owner is not liable.
An experienced personal injury attorney will review your case and help you decide on whether or not to proceed with filing any type of action. They will know the legal loopholes that might allow your case to prevail and you to be compensated for your injuries. Visit http://www.attorneyinjury.com/ for more information on working with an experienced lawyer.