When Can You Beat an “Assumption of the Risk” Defense?

January 18th 2012 by

An “assumption of risk” defense is usually asserted by a defendant in a personal injury case when they argue that the plaintiff or the injured party knowingly and voluntarily assumed the risk inherent in a particular action that caused the injury. This type of defense is very common when it comes to participation in sports.

For example, if you are playing baseball and you get accidentally hit by a bat or a ball and suffer a head injury, you may not be able to sue the person who injured you because when you participate in a baseball game, you assume the inherent risks of such injuries. On the other hand, if you are in the middle of a baseball game and a fight breaks out and you get hit on the head by a baseball bat, then, you may be able to sue the person who assaulted you with the baseball bat. The assumption of risk defense does not cover injuries that were intentionally inflicted or were not an inherent part of the game.

Another example where the “assumption of risk” defense will not work is when a defective product injures you. For example, if you are using a coffee maker in the way it was intended to be used and suffer burn injuries because you got sprayed with hot coffee, then, you have a products liability claim against the manufacturer of the product. That’s because you expected the coffee maker to work properly when you used it. If a defective product causes you injury, then the product manufacturer can be held liable for it. In such cases, the “assumption of risk” argument will not work.

There are several complex legal issues in personal injury cases. If you or a loved one has been injured as a result of someone else’s negligence or wrongdoing, please contact the experienced New Jersey personal injury lawyers at Console & Hollawell to discuss your case and find out about your legal rights.

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