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Does Assumption of Risk Make Me Liable for My Injuries?

The Law Offices of Gold, Albanese & Barletti, LLC Jan. 3, 2024

It's not uncommon to find yourself in a situation where you've been injured during an activity you knew had some inherent risks. But does that mean you're solely responsible for your injuries? The answer is not as straightforward as you might think, and it's essential to understand how the legal principle of assumption of risk can potentially impact your personal injury case. 

At The Law Offices of Gold, Albanese & Barletti, LLC, we're here to provide the legal guidance you need. Based in Morristown, New Jersey, we serve clients throughout New Jersey, New York, and Boston, Massachusetts. Our team understands the intricacies of personal injury law and how the assumption of risk can affect your claim. If you've been injured and are unsure about your rights or potential avenues for compensation, don't hesitate to reach out. Let us put our knowledge and experience to work for you. 

Understanding Assumption of Risk

When you engage in an activity, there's an inherent understanding that certain risks may be involved. This concept, known as "assumption of risk", plays a significant role in personal injury cases. It's important to understand how this legal principle can potentially impact the outcome of your case. 

Assumption of risk comes into play when an individual voluntarily participates in an activity that has obvious potential dangers. For instance, if you decide to go skiing, you're likely aware of the risks involved, such as falling or colliding with another skier. The law presumes that by participating, you have assumed the risk of any injuries that might occur from these known hazards. 

The Role of Consent in Assumption of Risk 

Understanding the role of consent in the assumption of risk can help clarify how liability is determined. When you willingly participate in a risky activity, it's often presumed that you've given your implicit consent to the potential dangers. However, this consent must be informed and voluntary. 

If you weren't fully aware of the risks or were coerced into participating, your consent may not be considered valid. Similarly, if the party responsible for the activity didn't take reasonable steps to ensure your safety, they could still be held liable for your injuries. 

The Difference Between Primary and Secondary Assumption of Risk 

It's important to note that there are two types of assumption of risk: primary and secondary. Primary assumption applies when you knowingly engage in a risky activity, accepting the inherent dangers. In these cases, the party organizing the activity may not have a duty to protect you from these known risks. 

However, with secondary assumption, you acknowledge the risks but the other party still has a duty to minimize them where possible. If they fail in this duty, they could be held liable for any resulting injuries. Understanding this distinction can be crucial in determining liability in a personal injury case. 

How Assumption of Risk Impacts Liability

In the eyes of the law, the principle of assumption of risk can significantly impact who is held liable for an injury. If it's determined that you willingly undertook a risky activity and got injured as a result, you may bear some or even all of the liability for your injuries. 

However, it's not always that straightforward. Several factors come into play when determining liability, such as the nature of the activity and whether the injured party was fully aware of the risks involved. Furthermore, the other party's conduct can also affect the outcome. If their actions were reckless or intentionally harmful, they may still be held accountable despite your assumed risk. 

When Assumption of Risk Doesn't Apply

There are circumstances where the assumption of risk doctrine doesn't apply, allowing you to pursue a personal injury claim even if you knowingly engaged in a risky activity. 

Firstly, if the risk wasn't obvious or you weren't adequately informed about it, the assumption of risk might not hold. Secondly, if the person or entity responsible for your injury acted negligently or recklessly, causing a risk that wasn't inherent to the activity, they could still be held liable. 

For example, if you were injured while skiing because a ski resort failed to maintain its equipment properly, the resort might not be able to claim you assumed the risk of your injury. 

Navigate Your Situation With Legal Representation

Assumption of risk can be a complex area of personal injury law, and it's important to have experienced legal representation on your side. At The Law Offices of Gold, Albanese & Barletti, LLC, we are here to help. We serve clients throughout New Jersey, New York, and Boston, Massachusetts, and we're ready to assist you in understanding your rights and potential avenues for compensation. 

Don't let the principle of assumption of risk deter you from seeking the justice you deserve. If you've been injured, reach out to us. Let us use our knowledge and experience to guide you through the legal process and fight for the compensation you deserve.