The Florida Supreme Court has previously ruled that an express assumption of risk only exists in express contracts not to sue and injuries caused by contact sports. In a recent case, the Fifth District Court of Appeal addressed the concept of assumption of risk in Florida.
Assumption of risk is a common defense used by many defendants in Florida personal injury cases. Under the assumption of risk doctrine, courts can prevent plaintiffs from holding others accountable for their injuries when they engage in an activity that they know is dangerous. In other words, a plaintiff cannot sue for injuries when the plaintiff was partaking in a hazardous activity for which the risks were known.
The plaintiff in the case sued a church after he tripped and fell while rehearsing for a concert after he had volunteered to perform in the church rock band. The accident took place when he tripped and fell on an unsecured cord of the bass player’s guitar. As a result of the fall, the man suffered serious injuries.
He subsequently filed a premises liability lawsuit against the church. Premises liability is a legal concept that holds property owners accountable for accidents and injuries that take place on their property. The lawsuit alleged that the defendant had failed to maintain the property in a reasonably safe condition and failed to correct a dangerous condition, of which the defendant either knew or should have known through the exercise of reasonable care.
The defendant answered the claim by denying allegations of negligence and raising the affirmative defense of contributory negligence on the part of the plaintiff. The trial court granted the defendant’s motion for summary judgment, holding that the plaintiff knew of the dangerous condition and was aware or should have been aware of the risk of tripping over cords attached to the musical equipment on stage. As a result, the plaintiff assumed the risk of performing on that stage over a two-year period during rehearsals, until and including the date of the accident.
The plaintiff argued that his situation did not fall into the situations outlined by the Florida courts, namely involving a contract not to sue and arising out of injuries inflicted during contact sports. The appellate court agreed with the plaintiff and overruled the lower court’s decision, explaining that the plaintiff’s behavior did not bar him from recovering compensation entirely. Instead, it was a factor for the jury to consider.
If you were injured in a trip and fall accident due to someone else’s negligence, you may be entitled to compensation for your harm. At the Law Offices of Robert Dixon, our Miami premises liability attorneys are committed to helping South Florida clients hold negligent parties accountable for the harm that they cause. To speak about your case further, call us at 1-877-499-HURT (4878) or contact us online today.
More Blog Posts:
Florida Underride Accidents, South Florida Injury Lawyer Blawg, October 4, 2017
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Car Seat Injuries in Florida, South Florida Injury Lawyer Blawg, October 4, 2017