This bill rewrites present law regarding liability of a landowner to others for certain recreational activities on the landowner's land.
Generally, under present law, the landowner or any person in control of land or premises owes no duty of care to keep such land or premises safe for entry or use by others for recreational activities such as hunting, fishing, trapping, camping, water sports, white water rafting, canoeing, hiking, sightseeing, animal riding, bird watching, dog training, boating, caving, fruit and vegetable picking for the participant's own use, nature and historical studies and research, rock climbing, skeet and trap shooting, skiing, off-road vehicle riding, and cutting or removing wood for the participant's own use. Such landowner is not required to give any warning of hazardous conditions, uses of, structures, or activities on such land or premises to any person entering on such land or premises for such purposes. However, the above provisions do not limit the liability that otherwise exists for:
(1) Gross negligence, willful or wanton conduct that results in a failure to guard or warn against a dangerous condition, use, structure or activity; or
(2) Injury caused by acts of persons to whom permission for any legal purpose (such as camping or hunting) was granted, to third persons or to persons to whom the person granting permission, or the landowner or any person in control of the land or premises, owed a duty to keep the land or premises safe or to warn of danger.
Any landowner, lessee, occupant, or any person in control of the land or premises or such person's agent who gives permission to another person to hunt, fish, trap, camp, engage in water sports, participate in white water rafting or canoeing, hike, sightsee, ride animals, bird watch, train dogs, boat, cave, pick fruit and vegetables for the participant's own benefit, engage in nature and historical studies and research, climb rocks, shoot skeet and trap, ski, ride off-road vehicles, recreational non-commercial aircraft operations or recreational non-commercial ultra light vehicle operations on private airstrips, and cut and remove wood for the participant's own use upon such land or premises does not by giving such permission:
(1) Assume responsibility for or incur liability for any injury to such person or purposely caused by any act of such person to whom permission has been granted except for actions described above in (1) and (2);
(2) Extend any assurance that the premises are safe for such purpose; or
(3) Constitute the person to whom permission has been granted to legal status of an invitee to whom a duty of care is owed.
Any person 18 years of age or older entering the land of another for the purpose of camping, fishing, hunting, hiking, dog training, cutting or removing firewood, recreational non-commercial aircraft operations or recreational non-commercial ultra light vehicle operations on private airstrips, for such person's use for a consideration may waive, in writing, the landowner's duty of care to such person for injuries that arise from such use, if such waiver does not limit liability for gross negligence, or willful or wanton conduct, or for a failure to guard or warn against a dangerous condition, use, structure or activity.
This bill rewrites the above provisions to instead specify that a landowner owes no duty of care to keep land safe for recreational activities, to keep paths, roads, equipment or other improvements that are necessary and customarily used in a recreational activity safe for recreational activity, or to warn against hazardous conditions, uses of, structures or activities on the land if the landowner directly or indirectly invites or grants permission for a person to use the landowner's land without charge for the purpose of recreational activity. However, as land is defined in this bill, the above immunity would not apply with regard to the landowner's principal place of residence, any improvement erected that immediately surrounds the residence, or any swimming pool, hot tub or jacuzzi. Additionally, the above immunity would not apply where:
(1) The landowner's act or omission constitutes gross negligence or intentional conduct, and the gross negligence or intentional conduct is the cause of the injury;
(2) The landowner charges a person using the landowner's land;
(3) The landowner directly or indirectly invites or permits a person to access or use the land for recreational purposes when the invitation or permission is given for the purpose of sales promotion, advertising or public goodwill in fostering a business purpose; or
(4) The landowner maintains an attractive nuisance.
Under this bill, "recreational activity" is any activity undertaken for education, pleasure, relaxation, or sport.
If the title holder or owner of land does not reside on the land, and a person entitled to immediate possession of the land, or any lessee, occupant or other person in control of the land, invites or gives permission to a person to use the land for recreational activity, the title holder or owner of the land is not liable under this bill for any injury or death resulting from the land's use for a recreational activity unless:
(1) The title holder or owner knows or has reason to know that the person entitled to immediate possession of the land, or any lessee, occupant or other person in control of the land, is engaging in any of the conduct described above in (1) - (4); and
(2) The title holder or owner fails to make a good faith attempt to prevent such person from engaging in such conduct.
A landowner who invites or grants permission under this bill does not:
(1) Confer upon the person a status for which a duty of care is owed;
(2) Extend any assurance that the land or premises is safe for a particular purpose or the recreational activity for which permission is given;
(3) Assume responsibility for injury to a person or property caused by any natural or artificial condition or structure;
(4) Assume responsibility for damage or injury to any other person or property caused by an act or omission of a third party; or
(5) Limit or remove the duty of a person using the land to exercise due care.