Amusement Parks

Primary Assumption of the Risk: Amusement Park Rides

By on February 11, 2013 - Comments off

Nalwa v. Cedar Fair, L.P., (Supreme Court of California, December 31, 2012) — P.3d—, 2012 WL 6734705

A woman who was injured on a bumper car ride at an amusement park filed suit against the park owner for negligence. The plaintiff alleged that toward the end of the ride her bumper car was bumped from the front and then from behind, and that while bracing herself by putting her hand on the car’s dashboard, her wrist was fractured. The plaintiff also alleged that the defendant owed her a duty to take reasonable measures to eliminate or minimize head-on bumping, which she characterized as beyond the inherent risks of a bumper car ride.

The trial court granted the defendant’s motion for summary judgment, concluding that the doctrine of primary assumption of the risk barred recovery because the injury arose from being bumped, a risk inherent in the activity of riding bumper cars. The Court of Appeal reversed in a divided decision, holding that the public policy of promoting safety at amusement parks precludes application of the primary assumption of risk doctrine, and that the defendant could have reduced the ride’s risks by configuring it to minimize head-on collisions. However, the California Supreme Court reversed the court of appeal, holding that bumper cars are subject to the doctrine of primary assumption of the risk, and that the defendant was not a common carrier with respect to the bumper car ride: Read the rest »

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