I usual cheer for the injured plaintiff in lawsuits. I love it when wrong-doers and their insurance carriers get slammed for huge verdicts — hey, especially if it’s my case!. But every once in a while I root for the other side.
That’s how I felt about a California Supreme Court ruling that a bumper-car rider could not sue the amusement park for a broken wrist he suffered in a bumper car ride. The adult plaintiff was enjoying the bumper car ride when he was hit from the front and then from behind. She broke her wrist when she sought to brace herself on the car’s “dashboard”. A year after the accident, the amusement park owner added an island in the middle of the bumper car park — like those you see in most bumper car rides nowadays — to keep bumper car drivers headed in the same direction and minimize head-on collisions. The plaintiff’s lawyer argued, among other things, that this should have been done before his client’s accident.
The State’s highest court disagreed. It ruled that, by voluntarily engaging in the mock violence of low-speed collisions, bumper car riders assume the risks inherent that activity, just as people who play football or other sports assume the risks inherent in those sports. (We New York personal injury lawyers call this the “primary assumption of the risk doctrine” — see my prior blog post about it here.)
Because the plaintiff had “voluntarily assumed the risk” of the injury, the Court “bumped” the case.
And I’m glad. I love those little bumper cars. My kids love them, too. But we loved them a whole lot more when there was no island in the middle. Yes, we love those head-on collisions! The little dings on the side are soooo boring. We want some real violence.
Bring back the free-for-all, island-free, head-on-collision bumper car rides! California, lead the way!
Keep safe! (kind of . .)
Email me at: firstname.lastname@example.org I’d love to hear from you!
Michael G. Bersani, Esq.
michaels-smolak.com Central and Syracuse NY Personal Injury Lawyers Michaels & Smolak, P.C.