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The Assumption Of Risk Doctrine And Illinois Personal Injury Cases

If you are pursuing compensation for an Illinois injury, it is important that you understand the assumption of risk doctrine. Assumption of risk is a commonly used legal defense in personal injury cases. There is a decent chance that the opposing party will try to assert it in your case in an attempt to deny you recovery of compensation. To learn more about assumption of risk, or about your legal options after an injury, you contact an experienced personal injury attorney.


Express Assumption of Risk


Express assumption of risk refers to situations when the injured party affirmatively acknowledged the potential risk of an activity before an injury occurred. The most common example of this is when someone signs a waiver of liability before engaging in an activity. If an injury results, after you have signed a waiver, the opposing party will likely try to deny liability in your case because you signed a waiver. However, a waived does not necessarily prevent you from recovering damages. Other elements are required as well to prove that you assumed the risk of the activity. First, the waiver must be reasonably visible and clear. A waiver tucked deep within a contract is often not valid. Further, your injury must have been within the scope of what could be reasonably foreseen when you signed the waiver. If you have signed a waiver, and were then seriously injured, you need to speak to a personal injury attorney immediately. You still have legal options.


Implied Assumption of Risk


Implied assumption of risk refers to scenarios when no affirmative agreement was made acknowledging the potential risk of the activity, but the injury risk was reasonably foreseeable. The Illinois Appellate Court Case Clark v. Rogers is a critical case which clarified the implied risk standard. When dangers are inherent an activity, then the plaintiff is considered to have tacitly accepted the risk. A common example of implied assumption of risk is an injury that results from playing recreational sports. If you agree to play a tackle football game with your friends, and you break your arm in the normal course of the game, your friend would no doubt bring the implied assumption of risk defense if  you attempted to make a personal injury claim against him. But, if you were playing recreational sports with friends, and you were injured by a player who was extremely and unusually aggressive. You may have a valid personal injury claim. Once again, this defense only applies to reasonably expected behavior.


Contact An Experienced Personal Injury Attorney


Injured victims need to be prepared to protect their case from the legal defenses of the opposing party. Even if you expressly signed a waiver, that does not necessarily mean that you assumed all possible future risks of an activity. If an injury risk was not reasonably foreseeable, then you did not assume the risk under Illinois law. Contact an experienced personal injury attorney to learn more about how to properly prepare and protect your injury claim.

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