There are some personal injury cases where the “assumption of risk” defense is an issue. While this is not an issue with all personal injury cases, the issue, if it were to arise, can have a significant impact on the ability you have to recover damages for the injuries you suffered. Getting to know more about what assumption of risk means and how it may affect your case is important.
Personal Injury and Torts
When discussing assumptions of risk and personal injury lawsuits, you are actually talking about torts. A tort is a type of lawsuit that will arise if someone suffers injuries or harm due to another person’s intentional or negligent behavior. If a person suffers an injury in this situation, then the law lets them sue the wrongdoer in order to recover money for the injuries they incurred. A tort lawsuit involves the person who was injured – the plaintiff – suing the person who caused the injury – the defendant.
Legal Defenses to Use in a Personal Injury Case
In a tort case, a legal defense will essentially be a valid excuse. Put simply, while the plaintiff has to prove the defendant’s actions caused
the harm that the lawsuit is based on, a defendant using a legal defense has to prove that he is not responsible or is only partially to blame.
An example of this would be if you and a friend went hiking. Some point while hiking, you injure your knee and make the decision to sue the friend you are with for the lost income and medical expenses that were a result of the injury. In this situation, the friend might counter that you were fully aware of what you were doing and that the activity may be dangerous. As a result, you should not be granted compensation.
Personal Injury Cases and the Assumption of Risk
What your friend in the above situation would be asserting is the assumption of the risk defense. He, the defendant, would be claiming that you, the plaintiff, did something (at least to some degree) that resulted in your own injuries. More particularly, he would be claiming that you were fully aware of the risk of injury and decided nonetheless to plod ahead with the activity.
Cases involving assumptions of risk can be extremely confusing, in part because the laws in various states differ as to the defense’s applicability to dangerous activities. It is best to hire an attorney to help with this situation, as they can help the injured party build a case and recover compensation for the injuries suffered.