How to mitigate risk of being sued if someone gets hurt on my property

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How to mitigate risk of being sued if someone gets hurt on my property

I have a bicycle track in my backyard and all the neighborhood kids want to come
ride on it. I want to let them ride on it, but am scared I could get sued if
someone gets hurt. I’m guessing the family could come after me, but more likely
the insurance company would. I thought maybe a liability waiver might help, is
there anything I can do to prevent or reduce the likelihood of someone coming
after me to pay for an injury if it were to occur?

Asked on June 14, 2018 under Personal Injury, Utah

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 3 years ago | Contributor

IF you have have the parents or legal guardians of any children who use the track to sign a liability waiver, that will protect you from being sued for the ordinary or common risks attendent upon someone using such a track--but you will still have an obligation to keep it in good repair and remediate any dangerous conditions on it, because users cannot waive or give up their right to sue for any dangerous conditions you allow to exist. They can only waive as to the usual risks of biking on a such a track. So they can waive suing if they lose their balance and fall--but not if there is a pothole where one should not be, and it causes the fall.
You also need to have a fence or other way of securing your property to prevent children from coming on and using it without permission, because this, like a pool, would be considered an "attractive nuisance"--something likely to draw in children to use it, since children lack the maturity and understanding of when they can and cannot use a recreational facilty. Like a pool, you must take reasonable steps to stop those who are immature and can't make good judgments from harming themselves. A failure to take reasonable steps to prevent unauthorized use can lead to you being sued by the parents/guardians of children who trespassed and were injured.
And make sure you have adequate insurance, which means disclosing the existence of the track to your insurer so they can cover it.


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