Ohio has 75 state parks, offering opportunities for camping, boating, hiking, fishing and other time-honored outdoor activities. What happens when you’re injured at a state park? Is the state liable for your injuries, or are you out of luck?
Whenever you’re injured by someone else’s negligence or recklessness, call the Law Offices of Tim Misny. No matter where you were injured, we can review your claim and let you know what kind of legal options are available.
State park conditions and negligence lawsuits
If you were harmed as a result of a state park’s condition, you may not have any grounds for compensation. For instance, a hiker who tripped and fell on a poorly-maintained pathway generally cannot recover damages. Ohio law generally protects the state and private landowners who allow “recreational users” to use the premises. Even if someone is injured, the law grants them immunity from lawsuits: they are not obligated to keep the premises safe for use.
Court News Ohio explains, “in 1963 the General Assembly enacted the recreational user statute ‘to encourage owners of premises suitable for recreational pursuits to open their land to public use without fear of liability.’”
It limits liability in three ways: “the landowner has no duty to keep the premise safe for entry; the landowner has no duty to assure users once on the property remain safe; and the landowner is not liable if a recreational user is injured by another recreational user.”
Other injuries at a state park
There is at least one notable exception to this rule. In 2011, an Ohio man was injured at a state park when a lawn mower launched a rock, which hit him in the face. In 2016, the Ohio Supreme Court ruled that the recreational user statute did not bar him from recovering damages.
The court found that the landscaper was operating the mower negligently: he was mowing too close to riprap, rocks which are placed to combat erosion. The court found that “the immunity protection in the law is limited to injuries caused by the defective condition of the recreational premises.”
In other words, if you’re injured at a state park—and the condition of the premises didn’t cause the accident—you may be able to recover compensation. Negligent acts by employees are at least one instance where recreational user immunity does not apply.
Call an Ohio personal injury lawyer today
Were you injured as a result of someone else’s negligence or recklessness? Wherever the accident happened, you deserve great legal representation. I’ll Make Them Pay!® Get in touch with me at (877) 944-4373 so that I can evaluate your case.