Protecting the Rights
of Injury Victims

Thomas DeLattre and Glen D. Wieland

Who is responsible if I am injured at a park?

On Behalf of | May 9, 2024 | Premises Liability |

Florida is full of parks that many residents and tourists enjoy. Walking, running, hiking and swimming are some of the activities that are available in our parks. In fact, landscape and scenery are what draw people to parks to participate in these pursuits.

Sustaining an injury while out in nature can not only ruin your day but leave you with a serious injury. Slip and falls are common in parks or outdoor areas. You could injure a knee, twist or break an ankle or strain your back from physical activity while in a park.

If this injury results in medical treatment, you may wonder about liability. Who is for injuries in a park depends on various factors.

Some factors include whether the land is public or private and if you paid to be there.

Injuries on private land

When you are on private land, whether you can recover compensation for injuries depends on your status. You are a licensee if you are someone’s guest on private land. The landowner has a legal duty to shield you from dangerous conditions on the land.

If you pay to get into a private park, you are an invitee. The legal standard is higher in this situation.

The owner has a duty to make sure the property is in reasonably safe condition, warn you about any dangers that are not obvious and regularly check the land for hazardous conditions.

You are a trespasser if you are not permitted to be on the land. You are unlikely to recover compensation for any injuries in this scenario unless the landowner intentionally placed something on the land to injure you.

No matter your legal status, you can typically file a personal injury claim against the landowner as you would if you were injured on any other type of property.

Recreational use law

The situation is slightly different when a private property owner allows the public onto their land for recreational purposes. In that case, the property owner might be protected by Florida’s recreational use law.

This law states that private land open to the public is presumed to be unsafe for anyone who chooses to use it. The property owner has no legal duty to make the property safe and is not liable for injuries to people who voluntarily enter the land.

If you are injured while in a public park, which is run by some form of government entity, the entity is likely protected by sovereign immunity. This states that a government cannot be responsible for injuries that occur on public property.

If this seems harsh, rest assured that there are some exceptions that apply. If you can show that your injuries were caused by negligence and you could be compensated through money damages, you might have a successful liability action. However, there are some limits on damages.

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