In some cases, a plaintiff’s own conduct may contribute to an injury, decreasing the amount of damages awarded. In other cases, the plaintiff’s conduct may bar compensation completely. In a recent case, a boy’s family was barred from compensation after he was killed in a skateboarding accident.
Two brothers were skateboarding in a resort town when one of the brothers tragically died in a skateboarding accident. The two brothers had been riding their skateboards down a hill when one boy’s skateboard hit a small gap between the road and the concrete surrounding a manhole cover. The skateboard stopped, and the boy was thrown from the board. The boy was not wearing a helmet and suffered a traumatic brain injury. He ultimately died as a result.
The boy’s father and brother brought a wrongful death claim against several defendants, including the local water district and the local community association. The defendants moved for summary judgment, arguing that by participating in skateboarding, the boy assumed the inherent risks of skateboarding. The court of appeals affirmed the trial court’s decision to grant the summary judgment motion, since the claim was barred by the assumption of the risk doctrine.
The court held that skateboarding is an activity that is done for enjoyment or thrill, demands physical exertion and skill, and creates a potential risk of injury. This risk includes an injury arising from the possibility of falling off the skateboard, which is exactly what happened in this incident. Even though he was not performing a trick or attempting a high-risk maneuver, he was riding down a hill precisely for the thrill and excitement of riding down the hill, which made the activity inherently dangerous. Accordingly, judgment was granted for the defendants.
Assumption of the Risk
Assumption of the risk applies as a defense to claims in which the plaintiff voluntarily or knowingly assumed the risks inherent to his participation in a dangerous activity. If a defendant can prove that the injured party assumed the risk, the defendant is free from liability.
In Illinois, assumption of the risk is now often considered in relation to the plaintiff’s comparative fault. This means that the fault of both parties will be considered and compared, which can reduce the plaintiff’s damages or bar the plaintiff from compensation completely, depending on the degree of fault. Illinois recognizes three types of assumption of risk defenses. First, there is express assumption of risk, in which an individual explicitly agrees to relieve another party of liability. Second, there is primary implied assumption of risk, in which a plaintiff’s conduct demonstrates that he implicitly consented to an inherent and known risk of an activity, excusing the defendant from liability. Finally, there is secondary implied assumption of risk, in which an individual recognizes a danger but voluntarily participates. However, this final category does not bar compensation but merely considers the comparative negligence of each party.
Have You or a Family Member Been Injured?
If you or a loved one has been injured, you may be able to recover compensation for the injuries or for your loved one’s wrongful death. At Moll Law Group, we are committed to vigorously representing injured victims against some of the most powerful corporations in the world. Injuries can result from defective devices, dangerous drugs, medical malpractice, and careless drivers, among other examples. The Chicago lawyers at Moll Law Group are here to help you pursue compensation for your injuries. Contact us via our online form or call us at 312-462-1700 to set up a free consultation.
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