An assumption of risk is a type of defense a defendant can raise after a negligent action. This basically means that an aggrieved individual is not entitled to damages for any losses suffered when he or she willingly chose to expose themselves to a known hazard. In other words, if an individual was aware of a known danger and still took a chance anyway, they cannot then sue for damages if they are hurt or killed.
This type of defense is often invoked in premises liability cases, specifically in situations that involve “enter at your own risk” or “no trespassing” signs. Other examples of cases that often invoke this type of defense include activities with waiver and release provisions, as well as extreme sports.
If a plaintiff, say a boxer, assumes the risk of being injured or killed for participating in a boxing match, then there is no legal duty owed to that person if he or she is hurt while participating in that activity. To continue with this example, boxing carries an inherent risk of suffering severe injuries and death. This is an inherent risk that is an inseparable part of boxing and cannot be reduced or eliminated.
There are two types of assumption of risk, express and implied. Express assumption of risk typically involves a signed waiver, while an implied assumption of risk is generally inferred through words and actions. An express assumption of risk is much more straightforward to prove than an implied assumption of risk.