Recently, a state supreme court issued an opinion in a personal injury case presenting an important issue for Indiana premises liability plaintiffs. The case raised the question of whether a landowner – in this case, a local government – is entitled to immunity under a recreational-use statute when the land in question is used for both recreational and non-recreational purposes. Ultimately, the court held that land need not be solely used for recreational purposes in order for immunity to attach.
The plaintiff and her niece were riding their bicycles along a non-motorized asphalt trail. As the two were riding, they passed a ride-on lawnmower cutting grass along the trail’s edge. The mower was kicking up dust and debris, obscuring the riders’ vision.
As the plaintiff passed the mower, she covered her face and swerved, clipping the side of her niece’s bike. The plaintiff then lost control, fell, and injured her leg and knee. The plaintiff filed a personal injury lawsuit against the local government that owned and operated the trail.