Based On Assumption of Risk, Court of Appeals Reverses Verdict for Plaintiff

Recently, the Georgia Court of Appeals reversed a Gwinnett State Court verdict of $317,002 in favor of plaintiffs where the injured plaintiff “was clearly aware of the potential danger of injury” and “deliberately chose to operate the vehicle despite the risk.” Yamaha Motor Corp., USA v. McTaggart, 2011 WL 5529843 (Ga.App. Nov. 15, 2011). There, the plaintiff was injured when the vehicle, a Yamaha Rhino off-road vehicle with no doors or windows, rolled over onto his leg. Plaintiffs (injured party and wife) argued that the vehicle was defective because it did not have a door; however, the injured plaintiff testified that the vehicle was useful to him specifically because of the absence of a door for easy ingress and egress in his capacity as a gravedigger. He also testified he understood the warnings and instructions posted on the vehicle, had read the operator’s manual, and had significant experience with off-road vehicles prior to the purchase of the subject vehicle. The Court held that because the injured plaintiff chose “a course of action with full knowledge of its danger and while exercising a free choice as to whether to engage in the act or not,” the defendant should be granted its directed verdict as the injured plaintiff assumed the risk of his injuries as a matter of law.

For more information, please contact Timothy Buckley III, Esq. at (404) 633-9230.

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