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What Does "Assumption of Risk" Mean?

The assumption of risk is a legal doctrine that is often used by defendants in personal injury cases. The assumption of risk basically states that, under certain circumstances, a person has assumed certain risks and is therefore unable to sue the defendant for the damages that occur when those risks are realized. In other words, the assumption of risk is that another person cannot be liable for your injuries if you knowingly and voluntarily undertake a risk. This means that the defendant can argue that you were actually the negligent party in your personal injury case.

Assumption of risk can be either explicit or implicit. For example, consider a woman with a heart condition who visits a theme park and signs a waiver stating that she understands the risk a certain roller coaster poses to persons with heart conditions. Even if this woman suffers a very serious heart attack while riding the roller coaster, she will probably have a difficult time pursuing a personal injury suit against the operator of the roller coaster. In fact, even if she had not signed a waiver, the operator may still argue that the woman implicitly assumed the risk by getting on the ride because it is common knowledge that pregnant women and persons with high blood pressure, heart disease or heart conditions should not ride roller coasters.

If a person knows and appreciates the fact that he or she is in danger and decides to undertake a dangerous activity anyway, then that person has assumed the risk. However, if a roller coaster's tracks have been rusting away and collapse one day to cause injuries to its riders, it would not be an example of assumption of risk. It is unlikely that the riders could have fully appreciated the danger they were placing themselves in by deciding to ride the roller coaster. In this example, the riders or their loved ones can and should file a strong personal injury suit against the roller coaster operators. Additionally, in a comparative negligence state like Texas, plaintiffs can still receive some compensation even if they are found to be partly negligent through the assumption of risk doctrine.

If you think you or a loved one may have a personal injury case, set up a free consultationwith The Kyle Law Firm to have your case evaluated by experienced personal injury attorneys today.

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