Recreational Use Statute Prevents Plaintiff’s Lawsuit Following Rope-Swing Accident

Indiana landowners have a duty to make sure that their property is safe for the people whom they allow to enter and remain on their property. When a landowner fails to take adequate precautions to ensure a safe area, the injured party can generally seek compensation for their injuries through an Indiana premises liability lawsuit.

Rope SwingIndiana’s recreational use statute, however, limits a landowner’s liability in some situations. Indiana Code, Title 14, Article 22, Chapter 10, Section 14-22-10-2-5 outlines the state’s recreational use statute. Essentially, a landowner who allows others to use his property at no cost for recreational purposes cannot be held liable for any injuries that are caused as a result of the use of their land. Of course, this does not apply if the landowner acts maliciously or willfully causes an injury to someone using their land. A recent case illustrates how a state’s recreational use statute prevented the family of a young boy from recovering compensation for their son’s injuries.

The Facts of the Case

The plaintiff was the father of a boy who was injured while playing on a rope swing adjacent to a government-owned lake. The child was enjoying the rope swing with several friends, and they would take turns swinging from a nearby tree into the water. As the person swinging was in the air, the other children would try to slap his feet before he splashed into the water. When the plaintiff’s friend was swinging, the plaintiff attempted to slap his friend’s feet. However, the two boys collided, resulting in the plaintiff being seriously injured.

The plaintiff’s father filed a premises liability lawsuit against the town that owned and maintained the lake, arguing that the town was negligent in allowing the rope swing to remain on the property and for failing to provide signage about the dangers involved in using the rope swing. The town argued that it was entitled to recreational use immunity.

The court began its analysis by noting that the relevant statute provided immunity to landowners who open their land to others for recreational uses. The court noted that the relevant state statute defined recreational uses as “including, but not limited to, hunting, fishing, trapping, camping, horseback riding, bicycling, water sports, winter sports, snowmobiling, [etc.]”

The court concluded that the plaintiff was engaging in a recreational activity when he was playing on the rope swing. The court acknowledged that playing on a rope swing was not specifically listed in the statute as a recreational activity, but it held that it was recreational nonetheless because it was so similar to the listed activities, especially “water sports.”

As a result, the plaintiff will not be permitted to seek compensation for his son’s injuries from the town.

Have You Been Injured While on the Property of Another Party?

If you or a loved one has recently been injured while on the property of another party, you may be entitled to monetary compensation through an Indiana premises liability lawsuit. The dedicated Indiana personal injury and wrongful death attorneys at the law firm of Parr Richey Frandsen Patterson Kruse have extensive experience assisting accident victims with pursuing the compensation they need and deserve. We pride ourselves on the client-centered representation we provide, and we look forward to speaking with you about your case. Call 888-532-7766 to schedule a free consultation today.

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Court Resolves Statute of Limitations Argument in Favor of Defendant in Recent Premises Liability Lawsuit, Indiana Injury Lawyer Blog, October 4, 2017

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