What is the "assumption of the risk" doctrine?

If you have knowingly and voluntarily assumed the risk inherent in a particular action that caused an accident, you cannot sue the other person for negligence if you get hurt. For example, if you see a sign that says “do not touch – hot” but you touch the object anyway and burn your hand, you may be found to have “assumed the risk.”  This would prevent you from recovering any money.  Another common example of assumption of risk is participation in a sport in which certain risks are inherent to the game. For instance, if you are playing football and you get tackled and break an arm, you may not sue the person who tackled you. On the other hand, if you are playing tennis and a fight breaks out and you are hit in the head with a racket, you may be able to sue the person who hit you, since the assumption of risk does not cover any injury that was intentionally inflicted and not an inherent part of the game.

The information on this page is meant to provide a general overview of the law. The laws in your state and/or city may deviate significantly from those described here. If you have specific questions related to your situation you should speak with a local attorney.

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