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Atlanta Criminal Defense Lawyers > Blog > Personal Injury > How “Assumption of Risk” Can Affect Your Child’s Georgia Personal Injury Claim

How “Assumption of Risk” Can Affect Your Child’s Georgia Personal Injury Claim


In Georgia personal injury cases based on premises liability, property owners will often cite “assumption of risk” as a defense. Essentially, if the plaintiff voluntarily and knowingly assumed a risk that led to injury, the defendant cannot be held legally responsible. This assumption of risk rule often comes up in cases arising from sports injuries. For example, if your child is injured while playing a high school sport, the school will likely try to argue that they assumed the risk of injury by participating in the activity.

Courts Find Waterless Boat Race Operator Not Liable for Teenager’s Injuries

Assumption of risk can apply even in cases where the plaintiff did not sign a written waiver acknowledging and accepting said risk. A recent decision from the Georgia Court of Appeals, Knight v. Senoia Raceway Management, Inc., provides a useful illustration. In this case, the parent of a teenager injured during a “waterless boat race” sued the company responsible for the event.

A waterless boat race is an event where participants drive vehicles around a track while pulling boats. Each driver’s goal is to “dislodge” their competitors’ boats by ramming them. The last driver with a part of their boat still attached is the winner.

The victim in this case, who was then 16 years old, attended a waterless boat race held at the defendant’s track in 2018. The victim initially attended the race purely as paying spectator. He did not sign a waiver when he bought the ticket, although it was the defendant’s normal policy to require such waivers.

In any case, after entering the raceway, the victim started talking to another teenager who was participating in the race. The driver invited the victim to join him in the race. The victim ended up riding as a passenger with another driver.

During the race, the victim’s vehicle stalled. Another vehicle then rammed the passenger side and seriously injured the victim. As the parent’s subsequent lawsuit noted, the race management did not stop the race beforehand despite multiple apparent rules violations.

The lawsuit alleged negligence on the part of the defendant. The defense filed a motion for summary judgment, which the trial court granted, effectively dismissing the lawsuit. The Court of Appeals subsequently upheld the dismissal.

The appellate court cited the assumption of risk doctrine. Put simply, the victim “assumed the risk for his injuries” when he decided to take part in an inherently dangerous activity. More to the point, the victim was aware of the danger, given that he had previously seen such races on television.

Contact Hawkins Spizman Trial Lawyers Today

If you have a child who has been seriously injured while participating in a third-part activity, you cannot assume the organizer will assume responsibility for your medical bills and other costs. You need to consult with an experienced Gwinnett County personal injury lawyer who can review your case and advise you of your options for seeking compensation.

Contact Hawkins Spizman Trial Lawyers today to schedule a free consultation. We serve clients throughout Georgia including Atlanta, Dunwoody, Alpharetta, Cobb County, Fulton County, Gwinnett County, Johns Creek and Sandy Springs.



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