What Is Assumption of Risk?

No matter what type of accident you are involved in, you may be able to file a claim against the at fault party for damages. Whether it is a pedestrian accident, truck accident, or defective product accident, you have the right in California to file a lawsuit against the negligent party. Once you have a trusted attorney on your side, you will then be able to move forward with the legal process. Although an attorney is not required, it is helpful to the plaintiff to have legal representation while the victim focuses on healing from their injuries. It could be very difficult to be dealing with injuries, along with having to deal with the defendant and the insurance company.

When a lawsuit is filed, a plaintiff, also known as the party that files the lawsuit, sets out a list of all the different types of damages the defendant is responsible for. The defendant is the party that must respond to the lawsuit, and must defend themselves. A lawsuit is started when the plaintiff files the complaint with the correct Court.

Personal injury includes civil liability disputes, such as slip and fall accidents and car accidents. Different examples of civil lawsuits include:

  • Breach of a Duty
  • Negligence
  • Property damage
  • Breach of contract
  • Defective products
  • Malpractice

If you or a loved one have found yourself in any of the above circumstances, contact our top-rated car accident attorneys today to see how we can help you with your claim. During your free consultation, we will determine what type of lawsuit you may have, along with the specific steps we must take.

What are examples of civil liability?

In court, there are generally three different types of civil liability that hold the defendant responsible. It is the plaintiff’s responsibility to prove to the court that the defendant has satisfied any of the three civil liabilities. These different types of civil liabilities include:

  • Intentional torts: intentional torts are those acts done by the defendant towards the victim that has caused harm and injury. Intentional torts include battery or assault, such as punching someone in the face.

  • Negligence: negligence are unintentional actions by the defendant. This occurs when the defendant had a duty to act in a reasonably safe manner, but failed to act within that reasonably safe manner, therefore causing the accident and the victim to suffer injuries.

  • Strict liability: strict liability imposes liability on the defendant without determining negligence or fault. For example, this is most commonly seen in product defects. All the plaintiff needs to show is that the product was defective. Once the plaintiff shows that, then the defendant, which could be the product manufacturer or the products retailer, will be held automatically liable for the injuries sustained by the plaintiff.

What are the different defenses to civil liability?

Our car accident attorneys have been representing victims who have been injured in accidents for decades. We have seen several different types of defenses used by defendants in order to avoid paying the injured victim compensation. The defendant must have to successfully assert their defense in order to avoid paying compensation. Examples of the different types of defenses include:

  • Contributory negligence: this means that the plaintiff also contributed to their own harm. This occurs when the victim is responsible for causing  a portion of their injuries, and the defendant should not have to pay the entire claim amount.

  • Comparative negligence: California follows pure comparative negligence laws rather than contributory negligence. This means that even if the plaintiff was found to be partially responsible for their own injuries, they will still be able to receive compensation from the defendant. This compensation will be deducted based on the percentage that the victim was negligent themselves. For example, if the victim was found to be 40% negligent, and their injuries were $100,000, they will be able to recover $60,000 from the defendant.

  • Superseding causes: the defendant could show that there was another cause for the injuries that took place after and superseded the defendant’s actions. This is usually very difficult to prove since injuries from accidents are foreseeable.

What does assumption of risk mean?

Assumption of risk is another type of defense that the defendant may raise. This is probably one of the most common types of defenses that a defendant may raise if the defendant is a type of corporation, business owner, or a property management company. Assumption of risk is a legal theory that essentially means the victim will not be able to recover damages since they assumed the risk. For example, if you go out to a baseball game and are sitting in the front bleachers, and you are hit by the baseball, the baseball arena owners will try to argue that you assumed the risk. The fact that you showed up to the baseball game and saw how dangerous it could be, yet continue to stay there just shows that you assumed the risk. This is a very difficult defense that the defendant has to prove.

How does assumption of risk work?

Assumption of risk is a legal doctrine used by the defendant as an affirmative defense to prevent the plaintiff from recovering any type of compensation. By saying that the plaintiff consented to these risks, the defendant does not owe the plaintiff anything. There are two different types of assumption of risk. This includes:

  • Express: express assumption of risk occurs when the risk was expressly communicated to the plaintiff prior to the plaintiff getting injured. For example, one of the most common instances of express assumption of risk are when the victims sign a contract prior to doing any type of activity. It is up to the courts discretion to determine if the injuries suffered by the plaintiff were in fact assumed when the victim signed the contract. There are certain situations where Express Assumption of risk will not be a successful defense. For example, if the person signing the document was a minor or mentally incompetent, then the contract will not be considered valid.

  • Implied: implied assumption of risk occurs when the plaintiff did not necessarily sign anything but simply engaged in the activity. When the victim saw the activity and took part in it, the plaintiff essentially took on and consented to the risk. For example, if the basketball player started to walk into court when his name was called, he impliedly assumed the risk that he might be injured while playing the game. He may not have necessarily signed any contract.

What is an example of assumption of risk?

An example of assumption of risk is entering the gym. In order to receive a gym membership, there are several different contracts that must be signed. It may be foreseeable that someone who lifts weights could get injured by a very heavy weight. This means that if the injured member sustained injuries, they cannot hold the gym responsible.

Does assumption of risk always work?

Assumption of risk is not a defense that will always work. And that’s why it is very important to have a top rated attorney on your side that can foresee the different types of defenses that the defendant may race, and have valid arguments against it. Our car accident attorneys have recovered hundreds of millions of dollars for clients, and we know just exactly the different types of  defenses that the defendant may raise. Contact us today to see how we can help you get the compensation you deserve from the negligent party.

We have offices located in several different cities in California, including Los Angeles, Irvine, Burbank, Glendale, etc. 

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