What is Assumption of Risk in Michigan?
We must first answer the question: what is negligence in Michigan?
In order to prove a negligence claim, a plaintiff must prove that there was 1) a duty, that the person that had a duty then 2) breached that duty, and that that breach was 3) the proximate cause of the injury; the last requirement is 4) damages. Without damages then there’s nothing to recover.
OK, so what does it mean to assume the risk? At what point can a defendant (the person defending the case) say that the plaintiff (the person that brought the cause of action) assumed the risk and therefore the defendant should not be liable to them for their injuries?
The defendant has the burden to prove:
1. The plaintiff participated in the game/activity voluntarily
2. The injury was foreseeable
3. The plaintiff was aware of the hazards involved
So what are some examples of people assuming the risk?
• A broken arm on the football field after a legal tackle was made
• Dislocating a shoulder because of a valid check in hockey
• Falling in a downhill slalom race and being run over by another skier who was unable to stop
• Getting hit with someone else’s golf ball because you didn’t hear them yell
Did you know that Michigan even has laws for skiers? Yes, there is a duty of care that skiers must follow:
Sec. 22. (1) While in a ski area, each skier shall do all of the following:
(a) Maintain reasonable control of his or her speed and course at all times.
(b) Stay clear of snow-grooming vehicles and equipment in the ski area.
(c) Heed all posted signs and warnings.
(d) Ski only in ski areas which are marked as open for skiing on the trail board described in section 6a(e).
(2) Each person who participates in the sport of skiing accepts the dangers that inhere in that sport insofar as the dangers are obvious and necessary. Those dangers include, but are not limited to, injuries which can result from variations in terrain; surface or subsurface snow or ice conditions; bare spots; rocks, trees, and other forms of natural growth or debris; collisions with ski lift towers and their components, with other skiers, or with properly marked or plainly visible snow-making or snow-grooming equipment.
It’s essentially an assumption of risk type of statute. What does that mean? That means that it would be very difficult to prevail in a cause of action against another skier, unless that person fell so far below what a reasonable skier in like circumstances would have done.
Just remember, if you’ve been injured as a result of someone else’s negligent conduct, then our Southfield, Michigan personal injury lawyers are here for you. With over 30 years of experience, we’ve handled almost every injury imaginable:
Get the recovery you deserve today.
Stay tuned to our blog for continuous updates about Michigan personal injury laws and tips to avoid any potential liability.