The attached article, featured in the Insurance Journal on January 2nd, features a CA Supreme Court decision that over-turned a state court of appeals ruling on a park’s liability for injuries to riders of bumper cars. The CA Supreme Court held that there is an inherent risk assumed by riders when choosing to ride bumper cars. As a result, the park was found not liable for a broken wrist incurred when the driver was hit by another bumper car.
While not discussed in the article, proper signage alerting riders of the assumed risk may play an important role in triggering that “assumption of inherent risk” by the rider. While some inherent risk seems obvious, with “notice” to the participant being unnecessary, erring on the side of caution is the best practice. Posted signs of the inherent risk assumed by participation avoids the debate of whether or not the participant did or should have known about the inherent risk. We advise our clients to post signs that include safety rules and inherent risk so that the assumption of inherent risk from participation is clearly noted. Where possible, use signed waivers/releases of liability. Although states vary in their support of this legal position, notifying riders of the inherent risk assumed by participation is a good risk mitigation practice.