Assumption of Risk Occurred When Opportunity to Leave Car Not Taken
Description A SW Legal Virginia high court upheld a jury verdict finding the passenger in a car 49 percent responsible for the injuries she incurred when she stayed in her friend's car as the friend attempted to drive up an icy road to her home. The plaintiff was aware of the danger and did not take the opportunity to avoid it.
Topic Torts
Key Words Negligence; Assumption of Risk; Comparative Negligence
C A S E   S U M M A R Y
Facts Farmer called her friend Knight to pick her up from work and drive her home, which Knight did. The roads were icy. As Farmer tried to drive up the hill to where Farmer lived, the car slid back down. When Farmer tried to drive up the hill again, the car slid off the road, causing Knight to hit her head on the windshield, which caused her to incur $4,445 in medical expenses. Farmer sued Knight for negligence. The jury awarded Farmer her medical expenses plus $1,500 for other damages. The jury then found Knight responsible for 51 percent of the damages and Farmer 49 percent responsible for her negligence for not getting out of the car rather than allow Knight to try to drive up the slippery hill. Farmer appealed.
Decision Affirmed. "The jury believed that Farmer had in fact assumed some risk of injury and was almost at fault as much as Knight was for the accident.... Farmer admitted that she was aware of the dangerous road conditions and that she had the opportunity to get out of the car before Knight tried to drive up the hill the first time. Given this evidence, we do not find the jury's verdict finding that the appellant assumed the risk of injury plainly wrong."
Citation Farmer v. Knight, - S.E. - 2000 WL 775187 (Sup. Ct. App., W.Va., 2000)

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