There are several affirmative defenses that may be raised in regard to a tort claim. An affirmative defense is a defense that may be raised by a defendant that constitutes a complete bar to a claim. One of those affirmative defenses is that of the statute of limitations. Every state has set forth a statute of limitations for virtually every type of civil claim, whether it be a tort claim, contract claim, or otherwise. If the claim is not asserted within the time allowed by that statute, then the claim is deemed to be barred. The assertion of a claim is accomplished in most states by actually filing a lawsuit at the courthouse. Some states require actual service of the suit papers upon the defendant before the statute of limitations runs. Another defense that may be asserted in a tort case is that of assumption of the risk. Assumption of the risk arises when the plaintiff understands the nature of the risk involved and voluntarily assumes that risk. Example: If you decide to go out to the supermarket during the middle of a very bad ice storm, recognizing that the roads and walkways are not navigable, and while walking from your car to the store, you slip and fall, then you probably have assumed the risk of an injury. You knew that there was a risk associated with going out during those weather conditions and you voluntarily chose to accept that risk.
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