Last week the California Court of Appeal ruled on an important case involving skateboarding injuries.
The case, Bertsch v. Mammoth Community Water District, doesn’t bode well for injured skateboarders.
That’s because the “assumption of the risk” doctrine prevents an injured skateboarder from holding others liable in many cases.
Brett Bersch was riding his skateboard with his brother in Mammoth Lakes a few years ago.
While riding down a hill, Brett’s board collided with a manhole cover maintained by the Mammoth Community Water District.
The impact jolted Brett off his board, causing him to hit his head on the pavement. He wasn’t wearing a helmet, and he died of his injuries.
Brett’s family sued the Water District, arguing that the manhole cover was a dangerous condition of public property.
The District argued that it wasn’t responsible for Brett’s injuries, because skateboarding involves physical exertion, and is done for enjoyment and thrill. Thus, the sport-like activity involves inherent risks, and any skateboarder assumes these risks while skateboarding.
The Court agreed with the Water District.
Skateboarding almost always involves the risk of falling, which is precisely what happened to Brett in this case.
Thus, the assumption of the risk doctrine prevents an injured skateboarder from suing for skateboarding injuries.
If you or someone you know was injured riding a skateboard in Los Angeles or beyond, you should still discuss the case with an attorney. Each case is unique.
For questions about your case, the Rabbi Lawyer is ready to assist, 24/6.