Why The ‘Assumption Of Risk’ Defense Can Nullify Your Premises Liability Claim

Out of all premises liability defenses used by property owners to avoid being held liable, the “assumption of risk” defense may be the most popular… and by far the most effective one.
It is no exaggeration to say that the vast majority of people who owe such properties as shopping malls, grocery stores, restaurants, and movie theaters are wealthy people. And wealthy people can easily afford the best premises liability attorneys in California.
Depending on the circumstances of your slip and fall accident or other accident on someone else’s property, property owners represented by skilled lawyers will most likely juggle several different legal defense theories in an attempt to avoid being held liable under the legal theory of premises liability.
More often than not, property owners and their lawyers in Los Angeles and all across California use the “assumption of risk” defense, which can severely impact the outcome of your case, decreasing the value of your compensation. What is it, and how should you object to this type of premises liability defense in order to win your case?
These are the questions we asked our Los Angeles premises liability attorney at the Compass Law Group, LLP

What is the assumption of risk defense?

If it is not your first time reading about premises liability in California, you probably know by now that property owners in Los Angeles and elsewhere in California can be held liable under the legal theory of premises liability if they fail to exercise reasonable care toward their visitors and customers or fail to take reasonably precautions to avoid injuries or harm.
But even if you have been injured on someone else’s property and you genuinely believe that you will be able to obtain compensation under the legal theory of premises liability, you may want to learn more about the “assumption of risk” defense.
This particular premises liability defense refers to a legal theory that protects property owners from liability when a visitor or customer accepts and acknowledges the existence of a risk of potential harm to oneself when entering the property. Meaning: if the injured visitor assumed the existence of a risk before getting injured, he or she may not be able to recover compensation for his/her injuries if the property owner uses the “assumption of risk” defense.

How can the assumption of risk defense affect your premises liability claim?

The “assumption of risk” defense falls into two categories:

  • Primary. The property owner owed no duty of care to the visitor; and
  • Secondary. The property owner may owe a duty of care to the visitor who assumed at least part of the risk of potential harm when entering the property.

Generally, the primary assumption of risk prevents the plaintiff – the injured party – from seeking compensation, while the secondary may allow for some percentage of recovery under the legal doctrine of comparative fault in California.
Meaning: if you have been injured on someone else’s property and the owner of that property uses the secondary assumption of risk defense against you, you may still be able to recover compensation for your injuries and damages, but that compensation will be reduced by your own percentage of negligence.
Do not attempt to sue a property owner in Los Angeles or elsewhere in California on your own. Be sure that property owners are represented by skilled premises liability attorneys in 90% of all cases. Seek legal advice of our lawyers at the Compass Law Group, LLP, to find the best legal option in your particular case.


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