A landlord is generally liable for a tenant’s injuries when the landlord acts negligently. A landlord is also generally liable for 3rd party injuries when the landlord acts negligently. A landlord is generally not liable for a recreational users injuries.

Purpose of Recreational Use Statutes

Recreational use statutes are designed to encourage landowners to open their land to others for recreational uses, such as for skiing, fishing, hiking, etc. without the landowner fearing liability for injuries that result from such recreational uses. Landowners allow access to their property to people seeking recreation. In return for being allowed to recreate on the landowners property, the person waives their right to sue the landowner for injuries resulting from the landowner’s negligence.

The Protection of the Recreational Use Statutes

The recreational use statutes generally protect a landowner from liability against recreational users who are injured on their property. Most recreational use statutes state that an owner of real estate has no obligation to keep the property safe for use for recreational purposes. Recreational use statutes vary by jurisdiction. Check the local statute to see what recreational use protections are available in your jurisdiction.

Exceptions to the Protection

Recreational use statutes do not provide protection to landowners who: 

  • Charges entry or usage fees
  • Are willful or malicious in their conduct or fail to warn of hazards
  • Expressly invite the recreational users onto the property (some jurisdictions only)
  • Recreational use statutes generally do not bar claims of attractive nuisance  (some jurisdictions only)

Should I Consult a Personal Injury Attorney?

Recreational liability law is very complicated and varies by jurisdiction. A personal injury attorney can help you identify the law that applies in your jurisdiction and can represent you in court, whether you are a landowner fighting liability or an injured recreational user seeking to establish liability. Furthermore, if you know recreational users are accessing your property, you should consult an attorney to fully understand your rights and obligations under the recreational use statute.