What is Assumption of Risk in a Wrongful Death Case?

It will be important to have an understanding of the details surrounding assumption of risk when it comes to filing a wrongful death case. An attorney will be beneficial in deciphering the details surround this depending upon the way that the person you loved has died. Assumption of risk often comes into play in situations where a person is participating in an activity that could result in injury such as skiing, rock climbing, intensive sporting activities, and skateboarding to name a few. An attorney is vital in navigating around assumption of risk.

Wrongful Death

Wrongful death applies if a person dies due to the negligence of another party. There are a number of situations where a wrongful death suit may make sense including, personal injuries from a car accident or boating accident or even an injury on the job from asbestos exposure. There is a statute of limitations to which a wrongful death claim must be submitted to civil court. An attorney will know when a claim must be filed by as statutes can vary depending on the state that you live in.

Assumption of Risk

When a wrongful death case is filled, assumption of risk may be a strategy the defense utilizes in a wrongful death lawsuit. The defense will argue that when the person engaged in a high-risk activity, they willingly took on the risk they imposed upon themselves for participating in the potentially hazardous activity. Essentially because the person knew that the activity they engaged in could be dangerous, you are taking on a risk in doing so.

Implied Assumption of Risk

Under implied assumption of risk, there is not an agreement in place in writing. This is when the claimant and the defendant have a verbal conversation regarding the potential risk. The key piece surrounding this is whether or not the plaintiff assumed this risk by acknowledging the oral warning either verbally or through body language like a thumbs up or nodding of the head.

Expressed Assumption of Risk

Expressed assumption of risk is when there is a written agreement between the defendant and claimant. Often this occurs in situations where a waiver must be signed before participating in an activity. Some examples of situations where a waiver is signed may include: skydiving, exercise programs such as Crossfit, or a trampoline park.

No amount of compensation or punitive damages can replace the person that you have lost, but they can be beneficial in helping support loved ones financially in the event that the person who passed was their sole financial support. A personal injury lawyer Salt Lake City, UT, respects with experience in wrongful death will be an important component to receiving a fair settlement.


Thanks to our friends and contributors from Rasmussen & Miner for their insight into personal injury.