Friday, January 4, 2013

A Sensible Decision, Indeed

Score one for the amusement industry.  The California Supreme Court has issued a judgement that amusement parks cannot be sued by guests for injuries they have sustained on rides with obvious "inherent risk."

The case stems from a lawsuit against California's Great America by a patron who broke her wrist on the park's bumper car ride in 2005 when she braced herself as the car was bumped into by another.  The patron sued, and the case went through several levels of court before reaching the State Supreme Court.

The decision parallels one that took place with regard to sports, pointing out that engaging in any activity where the possibility of injury is inherent places responsibility on the participant.  "Those who voluntarily join in these activities also voluntarily take on their minor inherent risks," wrote one of the judges.  It was also pointed out that this is not clear cut for all amusement rides, as larger ones such as roller coasters do have more responsibility on the parks to keep them properly maintained and safe.

This is a pretty big score for parks, who in modern times have to deal with insurance costs in most of their decisions.  It is nice to know that they may have some additional breathing room when it comes to worrying about potentially frivolous law suits.