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California Gov. Code §831.4, the “trail immunity” statute, provides that a public entity is not liable for an injury caused by a condition of the following:

“(a)      Any unpaved road which provides access to fishing, hunting, camping, hiking, riding. . . water sports, recreational or scenic areas. . .” or

“(b)      Any trail used for the above.”

Generally, a public entity is not responsible for injury(s) sustained by the public when using a trail that provides access to a recreational area.  Recently the County of San Diego (Loeb v. County of San Diego (2019) 43 CalApp. 5th 421) was determined to not be liable when an individual tripped on an uneven concrete pathway in a county park leading to a bathroom!  Because the “trail” had the dual purpose of providing access to both a bathroom and occasionally to a recreational area, this “mixed use” provided the County of San Diego an absolute immunity.

With spring and summer approaching, be careful on paths, walkways, and trails leading to any form of recreational area, as a public entity owner of the property will most likely not be liable for any injury(s) sustained by the use of that trail!

If you have a potential claim for injury, whether against a public or private entity, the attorneys at Heiting & Irwin are available for a free consultation.

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