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Florida’s Recreational Use Statute

gardenPremises liability is an area of law that comes into play when an individual has been injured on someone else’s property. While in some cases liability is crystal clear, in other cases it can be complicated. As with other areas of personal injury law, there are nuanced rules and exceptions, which may be applicable in your particular case. At the Law Offices of Robert Dixon, our Miami premises liability attorneys can assess the facts of your situation and advise you accordingly.

Property owners have legal duties to keep their property in a reasonably safe condition so that those who enter the land are not injured. This duty varies depending on who is entering the land but generally consists of making sure there are no unreasonable hazards on the land, fixing known hazards, or warning guests of dangers.

However, there is an exception to this rule, and that is the Florida recreational use statute, found at F.S. 375.251. Under this law, there is limited liability for individuals who have made their property or certain public areas available for recreational purposes without any charge. The statute denotes that there is no presumption that the land is safe. Put another way, there is no duty of care owed by the landowner to those who enter and use the property. There is also no duty on the part of the landowner to warn visitors of any hazardous conditions on the land.

The rationale behind the statute is to encourage property owners to make land, water areas, and park areas available to the public for recreational use. Activities on the land may include fishing, camping, swimming, hiking, boating, and more. In fact, if a person is injured, he or she would have to show deliberate, willful, or malicious conduct on the part of the property owner to seek compensation.

The Idaho Supreme Court recently dealt with a similar Idaho recreational use statute in the case of Hayes v. City of Plummer. In that case, a grandfather tripped and fell at his grandson’s football game at the Plummer School Park, which is owned by the City of Plummer. The grandfather sustained serious injuries from the fall and filed a lawsuit against the city as well as the school district.

The district court granted summary judgment for the defendants, based on Idaho’s recreational use statute. The plaintiffs appealed, claiming that the school paid for the utilities, insurance, maintenance, and improvements to the property – costs that were a “charge” to the school in exchange for the park’s use. Thus, according to the plaintiffs, the city was in fact charging for the use of the park, and the recreational use statute did not apply.

The Idaho Supreme Court agreed with the lower court and held that the recreational use statute did apply. The court explained that the meaning of “compensation” was limited to payment for direct use or admission to the property. Since the park was open to the public free of charge, the City was shielded from liability.

If you or a loved one has been injured on private property, it is important to seek the help and guidance of a Miami premises liability attorney who can assess the merits of your case. Laws regarding recreational use are complex, and having a qualified lawyer can make all the difference in your case. Our team will work diligently to zealously advocate for your rights. We proudly represent clients throughout South Florida. To learn more, call us at 1-877-499-HURT (4878) or contact us online today.

More Blog Posts:

Taxi Accidents in Florida, South Florida Injury Lawyer Blawg, October 14, 2015

Federal Court in Florida Remands Slip and Fall Case Due to Lack of Subject Matter Jurisdiction, South Florida Injury Lawyer Blawg, October 14, 2015

Fatal Car Accidents in Florida, South Florida Injury Lawyer Blawg, September 25, 2015