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Know your rights after suffering a personal injury in a fight

Many injury cases are reasonably straightforward in that one person typically injures another party through some form of negligence. The victim is frequently just an innocent person who happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time. Not all personal injury cases are the same, of course, but many share these common traits. However, there are some situations in which the victim may not be entirely innocent, such as when a fight occurs. If one is hurt in a fight in Ontario, is it possible to sue the other person? 

The layman's difference between a fight and an assault is the consensual nature of a fight. If two people agree to a fight, one could argue that a degree of injury is expected and consented to. The law, however, does not differentiate between a fight and an assault. It is never acceptable to harm another person, nor can one give consent to grievous injury.

In the context of a contact sporting event, such as a hockey or football game, the participants understand there is a risk of injury inherent in the sport. The court sees sporting events as having "social value" and condones the expected level of violence of a contact sport. Since a fight has no social value, the argument of consent is invalid. 

Even if a man or woman has willingly engaged in a fight with another person, if he or she suffers a serious personal injury, that person may have grounds for legal recourse. It may be possible to seek compensation for pain and suffering as well as other permissible damages. A lawyer will be able to advise on the feasibility of starting legal action against the other participant in a fight in Ontario. 

Source: FindLaw Canada, "Can I sue if I am hurt in a fight?", Accessed on May 3, 2017

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