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New York Court Discusses the Assumption of the Risk Defense in Personal Injury Matters

Horses are often thought of as gentle giants, and many people living in New York take pleasure in riding them. Even the most well-trained horses can be unpredictable, though, and there is an inherent risk in horseback riding. As such, a person that suffers harm while riding a horse may have difficulty proving that their harm is compensable. Recently, a New York court issued an opinion discussing the assumption of the risks that accompany riding horses in a case in which the defendant argued it could not be deemed responsible for the plaintiff’s harm. If you were hurt while engaging in a recreational activity, it is in your best interest to speak to a Syracuse personal injury lawyer regarding what damages you may be owed.

The Plaintiff’s Harm

Allegedly, the plaintiff visited the defendant ranch to go on a horseback ride. Prior to the ride, she signed numerous documents, including an assumption of risk form. She subsequently embarked on two rides. On her second ride, a wrangler horse from another group became loose. The wrangler horse bumped the plaintiff’s horse and pulled the plaintiff’s reins from her hands. She held onto the saddle, but as the horse began to run, she fell, suffering a broken rib and arm and a contusion to her hip.

It is reported that the plaintiff filed a lawsuit against the defendant in which she argued that the failure to warn her of the risk of a stampede or to prevent or mitigate the stampede constituted negligence. The defendant moved for the dismissal of the plaintiff’s claims through summary judgment, arguing that she assumed the risk of harm.

The Plaintiff’s Assumption of the Risk of Harm

A person that elects to participate in a recreational or sporting event is generally deemed to consent to those risks that are commonly understood to be inherent in and arise out of participation in the activity. The court elaborated that the application of the assumption of the risk does not require that the injury party foresee the exact manner in which the harm occurred, as long as they are on notice of the potential for injury imposed by the mechanism from which the actual injury arises.

Parties will not be deemed to assume unreasonably increased risks, however. In the subject case, the court found that there was a factual issue as to whether the person in charge of the wrangler horse acted negligently, and if so, if her negligence created an increased risk, the plaintiff could not assume. Thus, it denied the defendant’s motion.

Consult a Skilled Syracuse Lawyer

Many hobbies carry some degree of risk, but that does not mean that any harm suffered while engaging in such activities should be anticipated. If you were injured while participating in a recreational activity, you have the right to seek compensation, and you should speak to a lawyer. The skilled personal injury attorneys of DeFrancisco & Falgiatano Personal Injury Lawyers are adept at helping people injured by the negligence of others in the pursuit of damages, and if you hire us, we will zealously advocate on your behalf. We can be contacted through our online form or by calling 833-200-2000 to set up a meeting.








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