Assumption of Risk in Tort Law

In Tort Law, the assumption of risk is a legal doctrine that can limit or eliminate the liability of a defendant for harm caused to a plaintiff. It applies when the plaintiff voluntarily and knowingly engages in a dangerous activity or assumes a known risk associated with that activity. By assuming the risk, the plaintiff acknowledges the potential dangers and accepts responsibility for any resulting harm. The assumption of risk can be either express or implied:

Express assumption of risk: This occurs when the plaintiff explicitly agrees, either verbally or in writing, to accept the risks associated with a particular activity. For example, signing a liability waiver before participating in a high-risk sporting event, such as skydiving or bungee jumping, is an express assumption of risk.

Implied assumption of risk: This arises when the plaintiff's behaviour or circumstances imply that they understood and accepted the risks involved in an activity, even if there was no explicit agreement. Implied assumption of risk typically applies in situations where the plaintiff voluntarily engages in an activity with obvious risks, such as participating in contact sports or attending a baseball game where foul balls are known to pose a risk to spectators.

Under the assumption of risk doctrine, if a defendant can demonstrate that the plaintiff assumed the risks associated with an activity, it can serve as a defence against a claim of negligence or other tort liability. However, it is important to note that the scope and applicability of the assumption of risk doctrine may vary depending on the jurisdiction and the specific circumstances of the case. Some jurisdictions have limited the application of this defence, particularly in cases involving certain categories of plaintiffs, such as employees or consumers.
Back to blog

UOL Case Bank

Upon joining, you become a valuable UOL student and gain instant access to over 2,100 case summaries. UOL Case Bank is constantly expanding. Speed up your revision with us now.

Subscribe Now

Where are our students from?

Yale University
Council of Europe
Baker Mckenzie 
University of Chicago
Columbia University
New York University
University of Michigan 
University College London (UCL)
London School of Economics (LSE)
King’s College London (KCL)
University of London
University of Manchester
University of Zurich
University of York
Brandeis University
University of Exeter
University of Sheffield
Boston University
University of Washington
University of Leeds
University of Law
Royal Holloway, University of London 
Birkbeck, University of London
SOAS, University of London
University of Kent
University of Hull
Queen’s University Belfast
Toronto Metropolitan University
Hong Kong University of Science and Technology
University of Buckingham

  • Criminal Practice

    Diagrams and Charts

    Our carefully designed diagrams and charts will guide you through complex legal issues.

  • Criminal Law

    Clear and Succinct Definitions

    Key concepts are concisely defined to help you understand legal topics quickly.

  • Property Law

    Statutory Provisions

    Statutory provisions are provided side by side with legal concepts to help you swiftly locate the relevant legislation.

  • Public Law

    Case Summaries

    We have summarised important cases for you so that you don't need to read long and boring cases.

  • Evidence

    Rules and Exceptions

    Rules and exceptions are clearly listed so that you know when a rule applies and when it doesn't.

  • Company Law


    Legal terms and key concepts are explained at the beginning of each chapter to help you learn efficiently.

  • Case Law

    Case law is provided side by side with legal concepts so that you know how legal principles and precedents were established.

  • Law Exam Guide

    Law Essay Guide

    You will learn essential law exam skills and essay writing techniques that are not taught in class.

  • Law Exam Guide

    Problem Question Guide

    We will show you how to answer problem questions step by step to achieve first-class results.

  • Conflict of Laws

    Structured Explanations

    Complex legal concepts are broken down into concise and digestible bullet point explanations.

  • Legal System and Method

    Legal Research

    You will learn legal research techniques with our study guide and become a proficient legal researcher.

  • Jurisprudence and Legal Theory


    All essential concepts, principles, and case law are included so that you can answer exam questions quickly.