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Different Forms of Assumption of Risk in Personal Injury Cases

Jeff Martin June 12, 2023

Personal injury cases involve situations where individuals suffer harm or injury due to another party's negligence or wrongful actions. However, in some cases, the assumption of risk may come into play, potentially affecting the lawsuit's outcome. 

Assumption of risk refers to situations where a plaintiff voluntarily accepts and acknowledges the risks associated with a particular activity, thus limiting or eliminating the defendant's liability. In this blog, we'll provide an overview of the different forms of assumptions of risk in personal injury cases.

1. Express Assumption of Risk

Express assumption of risk occurs when a plaintiff explicitly agrees to accept the known risks associated with a specific activity. This type of risk assumption is common in cases involving recreational activities. It includes signing a waiver before participating in extreme sports or signing a consent form before undergoing a medical procedure.

2. Implied Assumption of Risk

Implied assumption of risk arises when a plaintiff's actions signify their acceptance of the threats associated with a particular activity, even if they have not explicitly agreed to it. Unlike the express assumption of risk, the implied assumption does not involve a formal agreement.

An illustration of this concept can be seen in the case of spectators attending a sporting event. They are commonly regarded as implicitly accepting the potential risks of being struck by a ball or encountering similar hazards.

3. Primary Assumption of Risk

The primary assumption of risk comes into play when the defendant's duty of care is diminished or eliminated due to the inherently risky nature of the activity. It usually applies to high-risk activities like contact sports or recreational pursuits known for their potential dangers. 

In this doctrine, the plaintiff acknowledges the inherent risks associated with the activity, and the defendant is not held accountable for any resulting injuries. Consequently, the plaintiff is unable to seek compensation for their losses.

4. Secondary Assumption of Risk

A secondary assumption of risk arises when the plaintiff voluntarily encounters a known danger created by the defendant's negligence or breach of duty. Unlike the primary assumption of risk, the defendant may still be held liable to some extent in cases involving a secondary assumption of risk. 

However, the plaintiff's damages may be reduced or limited based on their contribution to the injury. This type of assumption of risk is often seen in cases where the plaintiff failed to exercise reasonable care for their safety, despite knowing the risks involved.

Talk to an Experienced Attorney!

If you're seeking further information regarding the assumption of risk, contact the Law Offices of Jeff Martin. Our team of professional personal injury attorneys in Tulsa, Oklahoma, is readily available to offer you comprehensive legal guidance and representation. Schedule your free consultation at our law firm in Tulsa, Oklahoma, today!