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Spinal Cord Injuries and Assumption of Risk

By David Boehrer | Posted on October 22, 2015

In mid-August of this year, the University of Nevada, Reno, football team “Wolf Pack” welcomed back Hassan Henderson after the university junior had suffered a neck and spine injury last season. This forced the young up-and-coming athlete to miss 3 important games last season.

Henderson played and impressive game upon his return, catching a 21 yard touchdown pass from freshman quarterback Hunter Fralick. To many, this cemented a triumphant return for the promising student of UNR. But to others, it came as a shocking reminder to how fragile the spine is and just how prone to significant injury we may be.

The Common Causes of a Spinal Cord Injury

Our spinal cord is amongst the most fragile parts of the human body. While the spine can be injured in a variety of ways, the National Spinal Cord Injury Statistical Center has honed in on the 4 most common causes, one of which Henderson attributes to:

  • Motor vehicle accidents (accounting for 42.1% of all spinal cord injuries)
  • Falls (accounting for 26.7% of all spinal cord injuries)
  • Acts of violence, including gunshot wounds (accounting for 15.1% of all spinal cord injuries)
  • Recreational sports activities (accounting for 7.6% of all spinal cord injuries)

Other common causes behind spinal cord injuries include slips, defective products, and medical malpractice.

Assumption of Risk Vs. Negligence

In many law suits in this area, a plaintiff will state that the negligence of another is what has led to his or her spinal cord injury. In these situations, an individual will need to prove that the party who is being sued is “at fault” or is legally responsible for the injuries you have suffered. Some common claims include:

  • Being rear-ended
  • Slipping on icy pavement owned by a property company
  • Tripping and then falling down a broken stairwell

When it comes to defective products, individuals will need to prove that the product they used resulted in injury. In these situations, the plaintiff may be able to sue not only the designer of the product, but also the manufacturer and the individual or company who sold the product to them.

In Henderson’s case, should his spinal cord injury have been substantial then the question of “assumption of risk” may come into play. Should a spinal cord injury have occurred when an individual is involved in a dangerous activity (in this case football), then a defendant may argue that he chose to take part in this dangerous activity and so he would not be entitled to compensation.

Personal injury claims are seldom cut-and-dry. They require an in-depth knowledge of the law and the expertise of a professional attorney. At the David Boehrer Law Firm, we pride ourselves on providing first rate guidance and protection so that our clients receive the most compensation they deserve for their injuries.

We invite you to contact us today for a free case evaluation at (702) 750-0750.

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We hope that everyone is taking the recommended precautions to protect themselves against this Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. The David Boehrer Law Firm always has and always will put the safety and well-being of our clients, and staff, before all else. We have taken the necessary steps to comply with all recommendations from the CDC, the SNHD and Governor Sisolak, while also allowing us to continue to serve our clients.

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David D Boehrer, Esq.