P: 479-363-6171 | 105B W. Van Buren Eureka Springs, AR 72632

Can I get sued for. . .?

There are a lot of people who, for whatever reason (mostly due to tort reformer marketing) think you can get sued for just about anything. Now, can any idiot go to the courthouse and file something? Sure, you can go to the courthouse and file a lawsuit against the President for eating Cheerios on a Wednesday, and the clerks will take your money and you can even serve it if you want. But it’s not going anywhere.

In Arkansas, there are a number of statutory protections for landowners, and here is one of the main ones for those who own land that can be used for recreational purposes:

18-11-305. Owner’s immunity from liability.

Except as specifically recognized by or provided in § 18-11-307, an owner of land who, either directly or indirectly, invites or permits without charge any person to use his or her property for recreational purposes does not thereby:

(1) Extend any assurance that the lands or premises are safe for any purpose;

(2) Confer upon the person the legal status of an invitee or licensee to whom a duty of care is owed;

(3) Assume responsibility for or incur liability for any injury to person or property caused by an act or omission of such persons; or

(4) Assume responsibility for or incur liability for injury to the person or property caused by any natural or artificial condition, structure, or personal property on the land.

The exceptions? Found here:

18-11-307. Exceptions to owner’s immunity.

Nothing in this subchapter limits in any way liability which otherwise exists:

(1) For malicious, but not mere negligent, failure to guard or warn against an ultra-hazardous condition, structure, personal property, use, or activity actually known to the owner to be dangerous; and

(2) For injury suffered in any case in which the owner of land charges the person or persons who enter or go on the land for the recreational use thereof, except that, in the case of land leased to the state, a subdivision thereof, or to a third person, any consideration received by the owner for the lease shall not be deemed a charge within the meaning of this section.

So, if you don’t charge for access, and you don’t make any statements about how safe it may be or the condition in general, then you’ve got a lot of protection. Something to think about next time someone is telling scary stories of losing everything for doing something nice. Most of those are nonsense.

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