Court notes risk in amusement park rides

Jan. 1, 2013 at 2:43 PM

SAN FRANCISCO, Jan. 1 (UPI) -- The California Supreme Court ruled bumper car riders cannot sue amusement park operators over injuries stemming from the inherent nature of the attraction.

The 6-1 decision, announced Monday, may be cited in future liability cases for a wide variety of activities, including jet skiing, ice skating and fitness club workouts, lawyers in the case said.

"This is a victory for anyone who likes fun-and-risk activities," said Jeffrey M. Lenkov, attorney for the San Francisco-area amusement park Great America, the defendant.

"Patrons are less safe today than they were yesterday," said Mark D. Rosenberg, lawyer for plaintiff Smriti Nalwa, who fractured her wrist while riding with her 9-year-old son on the bumper car ride in 2005.

Monday's decision extended a legal doctrine that has limited liability for risky sports, such as football, to now include recreational activities, the Los Angeles Times said Tuesday.

"A small degree of risk inevitably accompanies the thrill. ... Those who voluntarily join in these activities also voluntarily take on their minor inherent risks," Justice Kathryn Mickle Werdegar write for the majority.

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