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State Court Determines Recreational Immunity Applies During Fireworks Display in Recent Premises Liability Case

Posted in Firm News

The Supreme Court of North Dakota recently released its opinion in a case in which a woman alleged she sustained injuries after attending a fireworks display. Evidently, the woman attended a fireworks display at a fairgrounds that was free of charge to the public. The woman was looking for a place to observe the fireworks show, but she stepped onto a floor board in the grandstand and fell to the ground. Apparently, the floorboards were rotted, so when her weight was placed on the boards, they were compromised and split.

The woman went on to sue the fairgrounds, claiming that they were negligent in maintaining the grandstand. Both parties stipulated to what had occurred, but the defendant moved to dismiss the claim, stating that no genuine issues of material fact existed. The lower courts agreed with the defendant and found that the defendant was protected by the recreational use immunity statute of the state. The plaintiff argued that the statute was not applied correctly. However, the court found that was not the case. The plaintiff specifically argued that the fairgrounds still had a duty to supervise. The court determined that the supervision requirement does not override the recreational use immunity, and thus they affirmed the lower court’s finding.

Implications of New Mexico’s Recreational Use Statute 

Almost every state has a recreational use statute that is designed to educate the public on the responsibilities of public and private land and the implications if one is injured on that land. Most states immunize landowners if they permit the public to enter their premises for recreational activities. However, the states can vary drastically in regard to what land is protected and what is considered recreation.

Generally, if a landowner allows the public to use their property free of charge, they do not have the duty to care for the property or keep it safe. Additionally, they may not need to give any warning about the dangerous conditions of the objects on their property. Again, this protection is lost if the landowner charges to enter their property, or invites someone onto their land for commercial purposes.

Like the other states, New Mexico has a recreational use statute. This statute provides that landowners in New Mexico who allow people to hunt, fish, or use lands for recreation do have a duty of care. When these parties do grant permission to enter their property, they must extend assurances that the premises are safe for those purposes, and they must assume the duty to keep the land safe or assume responsibility for any injury or damage caused to visitors.

Have You Been Injured on Another Party’s Land in New Mexico?

If you or a loved one has suffered injuries after entering another party’s premises or recreational area, you should strongly consider contacting an attorney at the Fine Law Firm as soon as possible. Premises liability cases are exceptionally complex because of the strict rules that surround them. An attorney at the Fine Law Firm can help you understand this area of the law and represent your interests. If you are successful, you may be entitled to monetary compensation to make you whole again after your injuries. Contact an attorney at the Fine Law Firm today at 800-640-6590 to schedule a free initial consultation.

More Blog Posts:

Court Holds City Employee Not Entitled to Immunity in Premises Liability Case, New Mexico Personal Injury Lawyer Blog, April 7, 2016.

FDA Issues a “Black Box” Warning for Birth-Control Device Essure, New Mexico Personal Injury Lawyer Blog, March 17, 2016.