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The Assumption of Risk in a Personal Injury Case  

Apr 11, 2015 | Legal Terminology

If you are engaged in an inherently dangerous activity, you should know what the doctrine of assumption of risk is and how it can affect you in the state of New York.

What is the Assumption of Risk?

While undertaking certain jobs, you should take into consideration the risks associated with it

While undertaking certain jobs, you should take into consideration the risks associated with them.

Suppose you are involved in an inherently dangerous activity like rock climbing, skiing, or rock climbing and you are injured during the course of that activity. You now decide to sue the place where you were injured, claiming that they were negligent or careless, and because of that you suffered significant injury. However, the people you are suing will turn around and say that you assumed the risk. This means you knew about the inherent risks involved in the activity you engaged in, and you voluntarily engaged in that activity knowing such risks.

The establishment could also say that if you did not know about the risks, then you should have.

Assumption of Risk can absolutely Influence the Outcome of Your Case

How can this affect you, and how can it change the outcome of your potential personal injury case. As your case proceeds through the litigation process, the defense lawyers will have the opportunity to ask you questions at the deposition, which is a pretrial question and answer session held under oath.

The defense will ask you whether you have engaged in this type of dangerous activity before, whether you hurt yourself before engaging in such an activity, or if you know someone who was hurt engaging in such an activity. The defense mainly wants to know whether you were fully aware of the risks associated with the particular activity.

It is important for the defense to ask these questions and find out if you knew about the risks, and you voluntarily participated in this sport or tour. If through questioning the defense finds you were aware of the risks, then at trial they will tell the jury you are to be held accountable for your injuries, as you were already aware of the inherent risks, and yet you engaged in the particular activity under your own volition.

The defense will state that their client cannot be held responsible because you knew about the innate risks involved in such a choice. Therefore, the assumption of risk is a compelling argument that a jury cannot ignore.

A Common Defense Strategy

Assumption of risk is a common defense, when somebody is suing for being hurt while performing a dangerous activity. In fact, when you go to places where they provide you the service and place for performing these dangerous activities, you will have to sign a document that makes you aware of all the risks and warnings associated with that activity.

If later you are injured and you try to invoke a personal injury lawsuit, they will produce this document and say you were aware of the risks. The reality is that if you are aware of all the risks then you may in fact have assumed the risk of being injured. If the defense is able to prove the assumption of risk doctrine at trial, then you may not be entitled for any compensation for your particular injuries, even if they are significant or permanent.