by Sophie Rowlands
Many property owners are loathe to allow the public onto their land for any reason at all. That being said, many cities and counties routinely impose as a condition of approval a requirement that the project include publically accessible trails, maintained by the underlying property owner or homeowners’ association. The California legislature recognizes the potential hardship resulting from this situation, and has crafted special liability protections. Pursuant to Civil Code section 846, any landowner who permits the public to enter and use his land without charging a fee is completely absolved of all liability and responsibility when, as inevitably happens, a litigious member of the public gets injured for whatever reason on the property and decides to sue. Provided the owner didn’t willfully or maliciously fail to disclose some dangerous condition on the property, the statute is quite broad in its powers and has been interpreted to protect property owners from liability for injuries stemming from a wide range of activities, from spelunking to hunting to hang gliding. Continue Reading They Sue Horses, Don’t They?