The determination of the rights of plaintiff and defendant in assumption of the risk is dependent on state law. Each state has a different interpretation of the ideas that are legally known as primary assumption of risk. The state laws can be subject to decisions made by the United States Supreme Court involving the rights of both parties involved in any suit involving assumption of the risk.
A 2017 ruling in Florida determined a very limited interpretation of the strict assumption of the risk. There must be a contractual agreement between the two parties that expressly prevents the injured person from seeking damages against the person or entity that they claim caused them harm.
The interpretation arose from contact sports in which players give up any right to sue another player for causing them bodily harm due to the action of playing the game. Florida’s interpretation of assumption of risk can be considered lenient. This does not mean that a person should assume that courts will automatically grant them their demands.
The practice in Florida has been that any action that involves injury or death to an individual that may have been caused by an entity like a business, university, or other institution are still a contest. The institution has a variety of arguments that can justify not paying anything for an injury or a seemingly wrongful death. Plaintiffs need the skills and knowledge of a personal injury attorney.
A recent tragic case shows how the assumption of the risk doctrine as interpreted by Florida can work against a plaintiff. The case also reiterates how important it is for grieving families to have the skills of a personal injury attorney in matters like this.
A young man planned to study in Costa Rica. He planned to go on an exploratory trip to the university that he planned to attend in Costa Rica. The college asked the man about his swimming skills and he told the college that he was a good swimmer. The man signed a waiver saying that he would not sue if he was injured or killed due to the university’s negligence.
Tragically the young man drowned while in Costa Rica. His parents sued the school for negligence claiming that their son should have been supervised. The school argued that the man assumed the risk and the school was not liable because he signed a waiver. The court agreed with the college.
The waiver may or may not have been considered a contract in Florida. It is most likely that this case would have gone to a jury trial. Money cannot replace the loss of a loved one but a personal injury attorney can bring a sense of justice to negligent injury or death.