New York City Personal Injury Law Blog

Assumption of Risk and Personal Injury Cases

Posted on Oct 26, 2014 in Premises Liability

Assumption of Risk

If engaging in a risky activity willfully, a personal injury case is probably out of the question. 

People could be involved in dangerous activities. For instance, a person is skiing, snowmobiling, or has gone rock climbing, and sustains injuries while performing these dangerous activities. The person then decides to sue the place where he was injured, claiming that they were careless or negligent, and because of that, he suffered injuries. The people who are being sued will argue that the person assumed the risk of engaging in an activity that is inherently dangerous, and therefore we cannot be held responsible.  

How can Assumption of Risk Impact Your Potential Case 

When engaging in any activity that is considered inherently dangerous, you are assuming that risk. Therefore, can you hold another party responsible if you suffer an accident and file a lawsuit? In the legal process, your case will go through deposition, which is a question and answer session under oath. Here the defense attorney will be able to ask you questions about what exactly happened and you will have to answer them under oath. In the deposition, the defense will ask:

  • Whether you have ever taken part in this type of dangerous activity before
  • Whether you have ever been injured before while doing this type of activity
  • Whether you know anybody else who would have been injured while doing this type of activity

Through all these questions, the defense will want to know whether you were fully aware of the risks associated with that activity.

You are Responsible When You Assume the Risk

It can be any type of dangerous activity, whether it is jumping off a cliff and suffering paralysis or it could be any activity where you have suffered a significant injury. In these type of personal injury cases, the defense will most importantly try to find out what were the risks involved in that activity, and whether those risks were known to you.

Why is establishing this important? Since you knew about the risks and deliberately and voluntarily engaged in the dangerous activity, then you cannot hold anyone else accountable for your injuries. The defense will tell the jury that the plaintiff was fully aware of the risks involved in the activity, and still went ahead and did it. Now the person is blaming us and holding us responsible, and how can he do so.

Injured while Cliff Diving? Your Fault

This is a compelling argument, and this type of defense often comes up in cases where the victim has engaged in some type of dangerous activity. If you are going to a place to take part in some type of dangerous activity, you will usually be asked to sign a document that lists the risks and warnings connected with that activity. If you sustain injuries and want to file a lawsuit, this document will be produced in court, which shows you were made fully aware of the risks. This means you assumed the risks, and therefore you cannot hold anyone else accountable when and if you suffer any injuries.

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