Last week, a Florida teenager died after sustaining serious injuries in a bull-riding accident. The teen, a rodeo lover, was accidentally thrown from a bull and kicked in the chest.

Many cities and counties either ban rodeos or limit the types of activities that can take place during a rodeo. For example, St. Petersburg Florida bans rodeos altogether, and many other cities prohibit electric prods and other cruel animal practices. However, most rodeo laws are aimed at protecting animals, and not necessarily humans.

In Florida, the “assumption of the risk” doctrine often applies to inherently dangerous activities, like sky-diving, bungee-jumping, skiing, snowboarding, and bull-riding. The doctrine presumes that those who engage in very risky behavior, in some sense, consent to potential injury. The assumption of the risk doctrine is a defense, usually applied in personal injury actions. It works like this: if an injured person sues a potentially liable defendant, the defendant will not be liable if he can prove that the plaintiff assumed the risk of liability by voluntarily engaging in an inherently dangerous activity.

The assumption of the risk doctrine works to relieve a defendant from “ordinary negligence.” This means that if a defendant acted unreasonably while helping the plaintiff to perform a very dangerous activity, and the plaintiff knowingly and voluntarily enlisted the defendant’s services, the defendant will not be liable because the plaintiff assumed the risk of the defendant’s negligence.

Like most legal doctrines, the assumption of the risk defense is not absolute. For example, if the defendant’s behavior was egregiously irresponsible, then the doctrine will not relieve him from liability. For example, a defendant who knowingly or recklessly injured a plaintiff is not protected under this doctrine.

The Florida personal injury attorneys at Anidjar & Levine frequently represent those injured while engaging in recreational activities. If you or a loved one was recently injured, and you would like more information about pursuing a legal claim, call the Fort Lauderdale accident lawyers at Anidjar & Levine at 800-747-3733.