Most ridiculous lawsuits: Ruling over bumper-car injury supports amusement park

The California Supreme Court says riders can’t sue over injuries stemming from the inherent nature of the attraction. ‘Those who voluntarily join in these activities also voluntarily take on their minor inherent risks,’ the court says.

SAN FRANCISCO — The California Supreme Court, protecting providers of risky recreational activities from lawsuits, decided Monday that bumper car riders may not sue amusement parks over injuries stemming from the inherent nature of the attraction.

The 6-1 decision may be cited to curb liability for a wide variety of activities — such as jet skiing, ice skating and even participating in a fitness class, lawyers in the case said.

“This is a victory for anyone who likes fun and risk activities,” said Jeffrey M. Lenkov, an attorney for Great America, which won the case.

But Mark D. Rosenberg, who represented a woman injured in a bumper car at the Bay Area amusement park, said the decision was bad for consumers.

“Patrons are less safe today than they were yesterday,” Rosenberg said.

The ruling came in a lawsuit by Smriti Nalwa, who fractured her wrist in 2005 while riding in a bumper car with her 9-year-old son and being involved in a head-on collision. Rosenberg said Great America had told ride operators not to allow head-on collisions, but failed to ask patrons to avoid them.

The court said Nalwa’s injury was caused by a collision with another bumper car, a normal part of the ride. To reduce all risk of injury, the ride would have to be scrapped or completely reconfigured, the court said.

“A small degree of risk inevitably accompanies the thrill of speeding through curves and loops, defying gravity or, in bumper cars, engaging in the mock violence of low-speed collisions,” Justice Kathryn Mickle Werdegar wrote for the majority. “Those who voluntarily join in these activities also voluntarily take on their minor inherent risks ...

Zum vollständigen Artikel

Cookies helfen bei der Bereitstellung unserer Dienste. Durch die Nutzung erklären Sie sich mit der Cookie-Setzung einverstanden. Mehr OK