Recreational use statutes encourage landowners to open land for public recreational use by providing the landowner immunity from liability for personal injury.  The purpose of the recreational use statute is to encourage the opening of lands to the general public that would otherwise be closed.

Immunity under the recreational use statute applies only if 1) the land is open to the public, 2) is open solely for recreational purposes, and 3) no fee of any kind is charged. [1]

Because the purpose of the recreational use statute is to open land that would not otherwise be open, immunity does not extend to land that is open to the public for other purposes, such as commuting.[2]

If the recreational use statute applies the landowner is not responsible for injuries that occur on the property. People other than the landlord owner might be responsible for the same injuries.

Also note that even if the recreational use statute does not apply, a landowner is not automatically responsible just because an injury occurs on its land. If you are injured on another’s property neither the landowner nor its insurance carrier are liable to pay the personal injury claim unless the landowner was negligent. In fact, premises liability cases are among the hardest to pursue.

If you were injured on another’s property you should seek the advice of a personal injury attorney. Do not assume that your medical bills, lost wages, or pain and suffering are going to be covered by the property owner or the property owner’s insurance.

[1] Camicia v. Howard S. Constr. Co., 179 Wn.2d 684 at 695-96, 317 P.3d 987 (Wash. 2014) (quoting Cregan v. Fourth Mem’l Church, 175 Wn.2d 279, 284, 285 P.3d 860 (2012).

[2] Lockner v. Pierce County, 198 Wn.App. 907, 396 P.3d 389 (Div. 2 2017).