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Understanding Assumption of Risk and Why it Matters

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If you have suffered an injury due to the fault or negligence of someone else, you may think about filing a personal injury lawsuit. During the process, you may hear the phrase "assumption of risk." In some cases, this phrase can represent a serious issue, which is why you need to learn what it means and how it may affect your ability to recover compensation.

Torts and Personal Injury

When referring to assumptions of risk in personal injury cases, you are actually talking about torts. A tort is a type of lawsuit that can arise when someone is harmed or injured due to another person's intentional behavior or negligence. If you suffer an injury in this situation, then the law allows you to sue the "wrongdoer" and recover damages (aka money) for the injuries you suffered. Tort lawsuits involve the injured person, who is the plaintiff, suing the person who did something wrong, the defendant.

Building a Legal Defense in a Personal Injury Case

In a tort case, a legal defense will essentially be any valid or reasonable excuse. When the defendant uses any legal defense during the tort case, they are effectively making an admission that they did something or acted in some way that caused the plaintiff to suffer an injury. However, the plaintiff is still prevented from being able to recover damages. If a defendant uses a legal defense, it is up to them to prove that the conditions of the defense were met.

Put simply, while a plaintiff has to prove that the defendant's actions resulted in the harm that is the focus of the lawsuit, it is the defendants that is using a legal defense that has the job to show how the defense applies to the case.

An example of this would be if you were taken hiking by a friend. While you were hiking you hurt your ankle and decide to sue your friend for the lost income and medical expenses that result from the injury.

In this situation, your friend could probably use the assumption of risk defense to state that because you knew what you would be doing and that it was possibly dangerous, that you should not be able to recover any compensation from them.

Personal Injury Cases and Assumption of Risk

With this defense, a defendant makes the claim that the plaintiff would not have suffered the injury if the plaintiff had not acted improperly. If the assumption of risk defendant is used, then the defendant is stating the plaintiff acted in some way, at least in part, that caused the injuries. Also, because the plaintiff should have known or knew what they were doing was wrong or dangerous, the then plaintiff should not be legally allowed to recover compensation.

If you are facing a situation where you need to file a personal injury lawsuit, the best thing you can do is hire a personal injury attorney. They can help you understand you case, what rights you have and what laws may prevent you from recovering compensation.

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