Court Dismisses Plaintiff’s Case Based on Recreational Use Statute

Earlier this month, an appellate court in Vermont decided a case implicating the state’s recreational use statute. In the case, Symonds v. City of Pawtucket, the plaintiff was the mother of a young girl who was injured while she was playing on a playground on city property. The mother filed a premises liability lawsuit against the City, claiming that the City’s negligent maintenance of the property caused her daughter’s injuries.

The Facts of the Case

According to the court’s written opinion, the girl got a splinter while playing on a wooden jungle gym. The mother testified that the condition of the jungle gym was so poor that it “had deteriorated to the point where the wood was frayed, split, and slivered.” After her daughter’s injury, the plaintiff called the Parks and Recreation Department to file a complaint and let them know of her daughter’s injuries. A short time later, she filed a premises liability lawsuit.

At trial, the City asked that the court dismiss the case based on the state’s recreational use statute. A recreational use statute is a law that grants immunity to property owners who open their land up to the recreational uses of others, when others are injured on their land. There is an exception to the recreational use statute when there is willful or malicious conduct. In such cases, there may no longer be immunity, and liability may arise.

However, as the court pointed out, there was no allegation that the City knew of the jungle gym’s condition. In fact, there was some evidence suggesting that this was the first reported injury on the jungle gym. The court granted the defendant’s motion to dismiss.

Maryland’s Recreational Use Statute

In Maryland, as in Vermont, there is a recreational use statute that acts to protect property owners in some cases. However, there are several exceptions to the general rule, and a person who was injured while on another’s land should consider speaking with an attorney to see if their case may fit within one of the several exceptions. For example, willful conduct could be found when a landowner knows of a dangerous condition but fails to repair it. Another way around the recreational use statute is to show that the injured party paid a fee to use the land. To learn more about premises liability law in Maryland, contact a dedicated personal injury attorney.

Have You Been Injured on the Property of Another?

If you or a loved one has recently been injured while on the property of another, you may be entitled to monetary compensation for your injuries, as well as for your pain and suffering. Keep in mind, however, that there may be significant hurdles between you and financial recovery, and an attorney is a useful ally in getting you through the process successfully. Call 410-654-3600 today to set up a free consultation with a dedicated Maryland premises liability attorney.

More Blog Posts:

Two Killed in Glen Burnie Head-On Collision; Alcohol Suspected to Be a Factor, Maryland Accident Law Blog, November 2, 2015.

Marine Struck and Killed in Thurmont by Hit-and-Run Driver, Maryland Accident Law Blog, October 7, 2015.

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