The Colorado General Assembly, in order to maximize the recreational and other opportunities available to children amended Part 1 of article 22 of title 13, Colorado Revised Statutes in 2003 to add § 13-22-107. This section provides that the parent of a child may, on behalf of the child, release or waive the child's prospective claim for negligence.
A PA Commonwealth Court decision filed 1/13/2010 pertaining to the Recreational Use of Land and Water Act. The decision is a positive outcome for landowners who make their land available for outdoor public recreation.
An article from The Legal Intelligencer Online highlights a recent ruling securing liability protection for easement holders who have opened land to the public for recreational uses.
The Recreational Use of Land and Water Act limits the liability of property owners who open their land to the public for recreation. This guide describes the immunity provided to owners in regards to claims of personal injury and loss of property and reviews relevant case law. (print version of WeConservePA guide; 6 pages)
An individual or organization’s risk of being held liable for personal injury or property damage may be shifted to another party who agrees to accept the risk and who holds liability insurance or sufficient assets to back up the acceptance of the risk. A release agreement guards against a successful lawsuit by the person signing the release; an indemnity agreement, in contrast, ensures that if some other person sues, the indemnifying party will be responsible for handling the claim.
This June 2017 paper provided by the PA Fish & Boat Commission looks at the courts' inconsistent application of RULWA to various situations.
6 pages. Includes rail-trail case studies.
The risk of being held responsible for injuries or property damage associated with organizing volunteer, educational, recreational, and other events and activities (or opening up property for the same) can be minimized by having those who wish to participate sign a release of liability. The "Model Release of Liability Form" provides nonprofits with a well-designed template and example to work from. The guide "Release of Liability Form" provides commentary for the model.
A brief review of the landowner protections provided by the Act regarding claims of personal injury or property loss by recreational users of their land. WeConservePA's "Guide to Pennsylvania’s Recreational Use of Land and Water Act" provides a more in-depth review of the same subject. (WeConservePA guide; 2 pages)
Pennsylvania's Act 93 of 2005 (4 P.S. §§ 601-606) provides immunity from liability for particular equine activities under certain conditions.
Pennsylvania’s Rails-to-Trails Act (32 P.S. § 5611 ) provides for rail-trails acquired under the Act liability protection similar to that found in PA's Recreational Use of Land and Water Act. It also establishes within DCNR a program to acquire, operate, maintain and develop available railroad rights-of-way for public recreational trail use.
This law encourages landowners to allow the public onto their properties for recreational use by limiting the liability of landowners for claims of injury associated with that recreational use. The Recreational Use of Land and Water Act (“RULWA”), found in Purdon’s Pennsylvania Statutes, title 68, sections 477-1 et seq., is presented here as as amended by the PA General Assembly through 2018. The HB544 document provides the 2018 amendments to the statute.
Public access to property for recreational uses – such as hiking, bird watching, fishing and hunting – raises concern about the possibility of liability on account of injury to a recreational user. Pennsylvania law provides some protection from liability associated with public use of property for recreational purposes. Also there are practical steps that can be taken to minimize risk of liability.
A properly designed release of liability form signed by a volunteer or participant in an activity can reduce liability risks of the organizing or hosting organization. (Print version of ConservationTools.org guide)
Some real property is substantially riskier than other property for an organization to hold and manage, perhaps because of environmental contamination (or suspicion of the same), perhaps because of more intense public use, perhaps for some other reason. Depending on just how great the perceived risk, the organization may want to consider isolating its exposure to that risk by establishing a separate organization—wholly controlled by the founding organization—to hold the riskier property. WeConservePA guide. 3 pages.
Public access to land for recreational uses raises concern about the possibility of a visitor getting injured and the potential for the owners or managers of the land to then be held liable. Several Pennsylvania statutes provide protection from such liability. PENDING WeConservePA guide.
A property owner may convey to others the rights to create, maintain, and use a trail on their property without giving up ownership and enjoyment of the land through which the trail passes. WeConservePA guide. 14 pages.