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Recreational Use of Property – What You Need to Know About New York’ General Obligations Law 9-103

XC skier making recreational use of property in New York StateMany people in the Capital District and throughout Upstate New York love to spend time outdoors participating in recreational activities. Whether it’s snowmobiling and cross-country skiing in the winter or riding ATVs, biking or hiking in the summer, outdoor recreation is a great way to spend leisure time, stay active and enjoy beautiful seasonal weather.

What many people do not realize, however, is that recreational activities are often made possible by property owners who have chosen to make their land available to recreational users.

New York’s Recreational Use Statute, General Obligations Law 9-103

New York State’s General Obligations Law 9-103, also known as the “recreational use statute,” helps to make certain enumerated outdoor activities possible by providing a measure of liability protection to the land owners who make their property available for recreational use. Property owners who permit recreational use of their property free of charge are not required to keep the premises safe for those activities and are not obligated to warn strangers of unsafe or dangerous conditions on the property.

While the recreational use statute benefits those who enjoy outdoor activities by encouraging landowners to make their land available for recreational use, it can be an obstacle if a serious personal injury or death occurs while the property is being used for recreation. As a result, if you are injured or involved in an accident on someone else’s property while participating in an activity such as snowmobiling, biking, hiking, hunting, ATV riding, fishing, canoeing, skiing or while doing any of the other listed activities, it’s important to contact an experienced personal injury lawyer to determine what your rights are.

Premises Liability and the Recreational Use Statute

Because of this General Obligations Law provision, regular negligence-based premises liability does not apply in cases involving recreational use of property for the enumerated activities. The burden of the injured user is higher—gross negligence or the willful or malicious failure to guard against or warn the user of a dangerous condition must be shown. Unless this proof is present, the property owner may not be held responsible and may not be required to compensate you for the pain and suffering, lost wages and medical bills you experience as a result of your injury.

Therefore, it’s very important to consult an experienced attorney who understands the statute, its exceptions, and the court cases that have interpreted it over time. There are situations where the statute doesn’t apply, and it’s important to retain an attorney who understands whether it will apply in your situation.

Getting Help After You’ve Been Injured While Using Someone Else’s Property for Recreation

If you’ve been injured while participating in a recreational activity on someone else’s property in Albany, Troy, Clifton Park, Latham, Saratoga or anywhere in the Capital Region, contact the personal injury attorneys at Anderson, Moschetti and Taffany. Each attorney has over 30 years of experience in handling personal injury accident claims and knows the complex laws, including the New York Obligations Law, related to recreational use of property.

Anderson, Moschetti and Taffany have the financial resources to retain competent and respected experts who will thoroughly investigate your case. Their successful team has the knowledge and skills necessary to put together a successful case on your behalf. They are skilled in doing what it takes to obtain full compensation for pain and suffering, lost wages, and medical bills. Their success is reflected in the record setting verdicts and settlements they have obtained for their past clients in the Capital District.

If you’ve been involved in an ATV accident, snowmobiling accident or any other kind of accident while participating in a recreational activity on someone else’s property, contact the personal injury attorneys at Anderson, Moschetti and Taffany today at (518) 785-4900 or fill out the form on our website to schedule your free consultation.

Related Resources:

What is Prior Written Notice? How Does It Affect My Ability to Bring a Case Against a Municipality If I Am Injured? – Where your injury occurs can have a strong impact on what happens with your case. Find out what to expect if you’re injured on municipal property.

What Is Assumption of Risk and How Will It Impact My Ability to Bring a Case If I’m Injured During a Recreational Activity? – There are certain risks inherent in all sporting events and activities. Learn about the assumption of risk doctrine, which can impact the viability of your personal injury case if you are injured.

I Was Injured in a Slip and Fall Accident at a Friend’s Apartment. Do I Have a Personal Injury Case? – Find out what happens if you are injured while on the premises of an apartment complex where you’re not a resident.

Editor’s note: This content was originally published in 2015 but has been updated as of December 2018. 

David J. Taffany

About David J. Taffany

Mr. Taffany is an personal injury lawyer and a founding member of Anderson, Moschetti & Taffany, PLLC in Albany. He specializes in all types of personal injury and wrongful death cases, including complex medical malpractice, products liability and labor law. Read More About David J. Taffany »