State Supreme Court Finds Plaintiff Is Not Entitled to Relief Due to Recreational Use Statute

The Supreme Court in the State of Rhode Island ruled on a case stemming from a tragic diving accident occurring back in 2008. The plaintiff, then 29, became paralyzed from the neck down after diving into a pond at a Veterans Memorial Park. The man and his wife filed a case against the state Department of Environmental Management and two individuals for negligence under a theory of premises liability.

Lake at DuskThe family claimed that the state failed to warn and guard against a dangerous condition on their property. The jury at the trial court returned a verdict in favor of the state. The plaintiffs then went on to file a motion for a new trial, but the state filed a cross-motion, arguing that they did not owe a duty to the plaintiff. The court referred to the state’s recreational use statute and found that although the state acknowledged the design of the pond was hazardous, the plaintiff also admitted that he was aware of the danger and that he may have been irresponsible in failing to check the depth of the water. The Supreme Court found that, even in looking at the evidence in the light most favorable to the plaintiff, the behavior of the state did not rise to egregious conduct. Moreover, there was no evidence to support the premise that the state “willfully or maliciously” failed to warn or guard against the dangerous condition. As a result, the court entered a judgment in favor of the State.

New Mexico Personal Injury and Recreational Use Statutes

Many states have recreational use statutes that may apply when an individual is injured in a situation such as the one discussed above. In New Mexico, a landowner who allows a person to use lands for recreation, fishing, or hunting must ensure that their property is guarded against dangers. However, there are several very important exceptions that may come into play. Landowners, lessees, or others in control of land who do not charge a fee or require any other consideration, and who grant permission to people or groups to use their lands, do not:

  • Extend assurances that the premises are safe for each purpose; or
  • Assume any duty of care to keep such lands safe; or
  • Assume any greater responsibility for a potential injury; or
  • Assume any additional responsibility or duty of care to that person than if the permission had not been granted.

However, the law does not necessarily limit the liability of those individuals who charge or require other consideration.

Have You Been Injured While Participating in a Recreational Activity in New Mexico?

If you or a loved one has been injured on the land of another party, you should contact one of the experienced attorneys at the Fine Law Firm today. You may be entitled to monetary compensation through a premises liability lawsuit. These cases can be complicated and can result in costly medical bills and lengthy court proceedings. An attorney at the Fine Law Firm can assist you in facing all of these challenges and help you seek the compensation you deserve. Contact an attorney at the Fine Law Firm today at 800-640-6590 to schedule your free initial consultation.

More Blog Posts:

State Supreme Court Denies Governmental Immunity for Transportation Commission in Wrongful Death Claim, New Mexico Personal Injury Lawyer Blog, July 13, 2016.

State Court Finds Plaintiff Was Not Entitled to a New Trial in Lawsuit over Medical Expenses, New Mexico Personal Injury Lawyer Blog, June 28, 2016.