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Unforeseeable Risk Means No Liability

When a go-kart driver suffered catastrophic injuries after using a go-kart lent to her by a friend, the court ruled that she was not entitled to compensation.

The owner had warned her not to wear her long coat, as there were exposed moving parts at the rear of the go-kart. She had removed the coat but continued to wear a scarf, which became entangled in the engine, causing her injuries.

The argument that the owner was responsible because the go-kart was defective in that it had exposed moving parts was dismissed because this is normal on a go-kart. The wearing of the scarf was not regarded as a significant risk for which special measures needed to be taken.

Nor was there any heightened duty of care such as might apply to someone hiring out the go-kart for profit. Its use was non-commercial: it was a loan between friends.

The owner of the go-kart did not owe the same duty of care to the rider as he would if he were a commercial go-kart operator. He could not reasonably have foreseen the risk of the accident. He was not therefore liable to the young woman.

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