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Assumption of the Risk: A Defense to Personal Injury Claims

October 23, 2015 in Articles, Personal Injury Articles | MARTIN WREN, P.C. | LEAVE A COMMENT

There are many factors that can influence the outcome of an injury case. Some of them might seem to make legal sense to clients, while others might not.  In nearly any kind of personal injury case, professional attorneys counsel clients on things they may not have considered, such as the defense called “assumption of the risk.” The role of an injury lawyer is to make all of these legal issues clear to a client while applying federal, state and local law, as well as case precedent, to a case and ensuring the required research and fact-finding is done to support that case in court.

“Obvious” Hazards?

Injury victims might assume that if a hazard was obvious, a defendant would be more liable to correct it. But this isn’t always the case. In many different areas of personal injury, courts may find that defendants may not be liable if a hazard was “reasonably obvious” to those visiting a property, participating in an activity, or engaging in some kind of behavior at a site.  This defense is known as assumption of the risk.

One simple way to demonstrate this is with certain types of slip and fall cases. While in many cases, businesses are liable when customers or others fall on icy surfaces, there can be various situations where a court will rule or a jury will find that the defendant is not legally responsible for failing to clear certain surfaces of ice.

A court may find, for example, that on a large, expansive business property, it would be impractical to completely clear surfaces after a major ice storm. They may consider how a community dealt with the storm in general, as well as how someone was injured on the property. They might even rule that because of the general damage and devastation the storm caused, an individual should have used reasonable care to stay indoors or restrict their activities on the day in question.

Another good example is in the area of recreational liability. Companies often post signs warning customers to engage in some activity, such as swimming, rock climbing, etc. “at your own risk,” thus absolving themselves (to an extent) of certain types of liability, regardless of whether a hazard is obvious or not. And in many cases, the court looks at this as a “blanket” on rather obvious hazards that could lead to injury.

All of this shows that personal injury cases are not cookie-cutter processes. They don’t follow a set of unqualified rules set in stone at the courthouse. They’re open to various kinds of interpretation and legal scrutiny. That’s one reason why injury victims rely on personal injury attorneys. A plaintiff’s attorney can make sure that the client’s voice is heard in local court and the arguments for that individual are thoroughly considered in order to help the injury victim and his or her family pay for the costs of care and recovery.

Call the Virginia Personal Injury Lawyers at MartinWren Today

Those who are injured in Charlottesville, Virginia can get help from the law offices of MartinWren, P.C. Our caring attorneys and staff will keep you informed throughout your case, and help you through every step of a potentially complex process. Let us help you to exercise your rights under the law.

Contact Our Virginia Lawyers

We serve clients throughout Virginia — from Charlottesville and Central Virginia to metropolitan Richmond; Harrisonburg and the Shenandoah Valley to Roanoke; and the cities of Hampton Roads to the Northern Virginia cities of  Fairfax, Alexandria and Arlington.

To speak with one of our attorneys, please call us at (434) 817-3100.

Our Virginia personal injury lawyers at MartinWren, P.C. also have a statewide practice and offer free consultations at a time and location that is convenient for you.  We will gladly meet with you at your home or at the hospital, even on nights and weekends.

To schedule a free consultation with a personal injury lawyer, please call us at (434) 817-3100.

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