The Concept of “Assumption of the Risk” in Maryland Personal Injury Cases

When a party files a personal injury case against a defendant, the defendant has the opportunity to argue one or more defenses in hopes of escaping liability. In some cases, the ultimate determination comes down to which witness is more believable. However, in other cases, the facts are not necessarily contested, and the parties argue whether a legal defense applies.

One common defense in Maryland personal injury cases is “assumption of the risk.” The doctrine of assumption of the risk stands for the proposition that a person cannot seek to hold another party liable for injuries they sustained while engaging in an activity that they knew was risky. A recent case brought by a firefighter illustrates this principle.

The Facts of the Case

The plaintiff was a firefighter who was called to assist in the efforts to put out a wildfire that had gotten out of control. The firefighters set up a headquarters inside the center of an oval racetrack and set up camp outside the track. However, by the time the plaintiff arrived, all of the camp spots had been taken. She then sought permission to camp inside the track. She was given permission and spent the first night there without a problem.

After working all day, the plaintiff returned to her campsite and settled in for the night. However, as she was sleeping, a water-delivery truck failed to see her and ran her over, resulting in the plaintiff suffering serious injuries. She then filed a personal injury lawsuit against the truck’s driver and several other parties.

The court dismissed the plaintiff’s claim, finding that by accepting a position as a firefighter, she assumed the risks involved. In fact, the court applied a specific rule called the firefighter’s rule, which prevents firefighters from holding public entities liable for their injuries. The plaintiff tried to challenge this reasoning by arguing that her injuries were in no way related to her fighting a fire but were caused by the independent actions of a third party. However, the court rejected the plaintiff’s argument, finding that her injuries were related to “firefighting equipment or facilities.”

Assumption of the Risk in Maryland Personal Injury Cases

Maryland courts recognize the defense of assumption of the risk. Therefore, it is very important that anyone who has been injured while employed as a police officer or firefighter contact a dedicated personal injury attorney prior to filing any case or claim.

Have You Been Injured in a Maryland Accident?

If you or a loved one has recently been injured in any kind of Maryland accident, you may be entitled to monetary compensation. However, you should expect that the named defendant will offer some defense of their actions in hopes of avoiding liability. The skilled injury attorneys at the law firm of Lebowitz & Mzhen Personal Injury Lawyers are experienced in handling all types of personal injury cases, and we know which defenses to anticipate and how to navigate around them. Call 410-654-3600 today to schedule a free consultation to discuss your case with a dedicated personal injury attorney.

More Blog Posts:

Court Determines Puddle of Rainwater Did Not Constitute “Dangerous Condition” in Premises Liability Case, Maryland Accident Law Blog, April 24, 2017.

Plaintiff’s Failure to Comply with Procedural Requirement Results in Dismissal of Lawsuit, Maryland Accident Law Blog, May 8, 2017.

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