preparing yourself for an injury lawsuit

When Assumption Of Risk Applies And Doesn't Apply

Normally, if someone carries out an action that is considered negligent or malicious and causes you to suffer an injury, you would be able to sue for damages. However, if you engage in an activity that is assumed to be risky, you are less likely to be able to sue for damages.

What is an Assumption of Risk?

Assumption of risk occurs when a plaintiff engages in an activity while knowing that this activity carries some risk. You will either have explicitly waived an individual of duty of care, or you will be expected to know that there is inherent risk. If you are forced to perform an activity against your will and this leads to an injury, you can still sue.

For example, at a pool party, there is the implicit risk that you may drown in the water. Another example would be a gym where a gym member sustained an injury by lifting weights. There is always a risk of accidentally dropping one's weights and injuring himself or herself. If there is an assumption of risk, the defendant will not be held responsible even if he or she was negligent or reckless.

When Assumption of Risk Does Not Apply

There are some cases where you could still sue even if you signed a contact in which you express knowledge of the risk of the activity or situation. For example, you have the right to emergency medical care and if you are ever denied this, you can sometimes sue for personal injury. Contracts do not protect the defendant from malicious acts that the plaintiff could not anticipate.

Also, if there is a reason why you wouldn't have the ability to understand the contract, you can claim that you would not have agreed to it if you had understood it. If you were barely conscious, such as if you were sedated while in a hospital, you do not have to be held responsible for waiving the defendant's duty of care.

Going back to the gym example, while there is an assumption of risk, if the gym is unusually dangerous, you may still be able to sue for damages. If a piece of equipment broke down and became hazardous, yet several weeks passed and the equipment was not repaired or closed off with an "out-of-order" sign, you may be able to still sue for negligence. The best way to determine if you can sue is to hire a personal injury attorney. Talk with Teresa P Williams PA for more information about the assumption of risk.