Assumption of risk is when you make the decision to partake in an activity that could potentially be dangerous, and by choosing to participate, you assume some sort of the risk. One example is when an individual decides to play football, tackles another player, and sustains an injury from trying to make the tackle. The person who made the tackle cannot sue the player they were trying to tackle, because they assume the risk of injury when they decided to play football.

Your recovery benefits could be limited if you chose to engage in an activity where you are assuming some of the risks. Another example is if you choose to go to a paintball park, get shot with paintballs, and have bruises as a result. You assumed the inherent risk of being bruised by willingly engaging in the game of paintball, and cannot sue the paintball facility because you walked away with bruises.

However, if you go to a paintball facility and the walls fall down on top of you, even though you assume the risk of being shot with paintballs, you never assumed the risk of a wall collapsing on top of you because of the negligence of the building owner. You must assume the risk of the actual activity that you are participating in, not just be somewhere where risky activity takes place. A Clearwater injury lawyer can provide more information on assumption of risk and whether it applies to your specific injury claim. En Español.

Elements of Proof

The elements of proof depend on the activity in which an individual chooses to participate, and there must be some sort of inherent risk to that activity. Participating individuals accept that inherent risk when undertaking certain activities, which is how it is proven that someone has assumed the risk of the activity they are partaking in.

Contributory Negligence vs. Assumption of Risk

Contributory negligence means that an individual contributed to their own injury. An example of contributory negligence can be one person speeding while another person is running a red light. The driver that runs the red light is at fault for the accident, however, if the other driver had not been speeding, there is a chance the accident would not have happened. So, they were partially negligent in causing the accident and actually did contribute to it happening.

In assumption of risk, an individual does not have to do anything negligent. Simply performing an inherently dangerous activity means that a person assumed some risk. Even if the person was not negligent in any manner and is injured, they can still have the assumption of risk defense played against them. But with contributory negligence, an individual actually has to be doing something that was negligent to contribute to their injuries.

Defense Against an Assumption of Risk Claim

One of the defenses that personal injury lawyers use in an assumption of risk claim is that whatever risks the person assumed, negligence was not under that assumed risk. For instance, if someone decides to play to football and while standing on the sidelines, a person comes off the field and beats him up, although he is assuming the risk of injury while playing football, he is not assuming the risk that somebody is going to batter him on the sidelines of a football game. So, just because an activity has a built-in inherent risk, it does not mean that anything that happens to you while you are performing that activity falls under that assumption of risk.

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