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State Recreational Use Statute Shields Stadium from Liability Because Child’s Admission Was Free

Posted in Firm News

Recently, a court issued an opinion in a recreational use injury case that may be applicable in New Mexico personal injury cases. In that case, the Supreme Court of Georgia ruled that summary judgment should be granted to a city-owned stadium after a six-year-old girl was injured after falling through the bleachers.

Facts of the Case

In 2012, two parents were attending a youth football game with their six-year-old daughter. The parents purchased two tickets for themselves, but the young girl was able to attend for free because children under the age of six were not required to pay an admission fee.

When the girl was walking to the concession stands, she slipped and fell through the bleachers and sustained serious injuries. The family brought a personal injury lawsuit against the city, but the city moved for summary judgment. The city argued that the state’s recreational use statute protected it from liability because the injured party did not pay a fee to attend. At trial, the family argued that the exception should not be applied because the parents were charged an admission fee. The lower court agreed, denying the city’s motion for summary judgment. The city appealed.


The appellate court found in favor of the city. The court explained that the recreational use statute plainly reads that landowners are shielded from liability if the injured party did not pay to use the land, regardless of whether others paid. The lower court’s judgment was reversed, and the city was granted summary judgment.

New Mexico’s Recreational Use Statute

New Mexico’s recreational use statute reads very closely to Georgia’s statute. Under NM Stat § 17-4-7,  there are enumerated waivers and exceptions that limit the liability of landowners when a party is injured on their property. Specifically, the statute explains that if an owner or person in control of land allows another person onto their property without charge or other consideration, they do not:

1. Extend any assurances that the premises are safe;
2. Assume any duty to make the land safe for use or entry;
3. Assume any responsibility for injuries or damages; or
4. Assume any duty of care or liability other than if permission had not been granted.

It is important for New Mexico personal injury victims to understand the state’s recreational use statute, since it can dramatically change the outcome of a case. That being said, the burden to prove that recreational immunity applies rests with the defendant, and there are many situations in which immunity will not attach.

Have You Been Injured Because of the Negligence of Another Party in New Mexico?

If you or a loved one has been injured on another party’s property in New Mexico, you should contact an attorney at the Fine Law Firm.  New Mexico premises liability cases can present a slew of complicated legal issues that are difficult to navigate. As is often the case, every seemingly clear rule comes with myriad exceptions, many of which could work in your benefit. An attorney at the Fine Law Firm can assist in determining what your rights and remedies are. If you are successful, you may be entitled to monetary compensation for the injuries you sustained. Contact a New Mexico premises liability attorney at the Fine Law Firm today at 800-640-6590 to schedule your free initial consultation.

More Blog Posts:

State Supreme Court Reverses Summary Judgment, Permitting Plaintiff’s Untimely Affidavit, New Mexico Personal Injury Lawyer Blog, January 19, 2017.

New Mexico Circuit Court Finds Mountain Resort Waiver of Liability Valid in Negligence Lawsuit, New Mexico Personal Injury Lawyer Blog, February 5, 2018.