egress/ingress

Property was divided over 30 years ago, granting ‘egress/ingress’ only on the
deeds. This was for a dead end private road to access the other lots. Properties
runs north south, road runs east to west and dead ends. Can the owners of the
first lot east side use the entire road for recreational purposes? Snowmobile,
4×4 etc. Who is responsible for injuries/damage if they use the road?

Asked on April 11, 2017 under Real Estate Law, Michigan

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 3 years ago | Contributor

1) To fully understand rights under the easement (the right, on the deed[s], for others to access the property--the road--for access to their own properties), you need to have an attorney review the specific deed language with you. That said, as a general matter, if the other property owners were given access only for ingress/egress, that would NOT include the right to use the road for recreational purposes; easement rights are limited to the purposes for which they are granted.
2) A property owner is liable for injuries on his/her properties only if they result from dangerous conditions of which he or she was aware but, despite being aware of them, did not address.The property owner is  not liable for accidents or injuries not his/her fault, but which are, for example, the result of careless driving by others. 
Example: say there is deep divot in the road, which could crack axle or cause a crash: if the property owner is aware, or reasonably/logically should be aware, of it and does not fix it, he/she would be liable for any resulting injuries/damage. But if instead a snowmobiler or ATV'er was driving fast or recklessly, the property is not  liable; the property owner does not "insure" people who use the property against all injuries or damage.


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