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Land Insurance Issues

alboalbo Posts: 260
edited February 2010 in MTB general
Hi,

My parents have a plot of land next to their house, which me and my brothers have been building jumps (and things like that) on.
Recently quite a few riders have been coming to ride, and I have 'turned a blind eye' to it, so to speak.

I don't mind, I like to see people enjoy what I have built! Nor do my parents, to a degree....

So what I am asking is:
1.) Is their some way we can insure the land for injuries?
2.) Can we come up with a contract, a sort of disclaimer, to stop people suing for injury?
3.) Are my parents worrying too much?

Please help!
albo.

Posts

  • stick up a MASSIVE sign saying "NO TRESPASSING" with a load of legal bumph on it.

    then if they hurt themselves you sue them for criminal damage of your property

    :lol:
    {insert smartarse comment here}
  • joec1joec1 Posts: 494
    yea, stick up a "tresspassers will be prosecuted" private property, the owners of property take no responsibilty for any loss, accident or theft that occurs as a reult of tresspassing. (then technically everyone is tresspassing and they will be fine :D
    www.settingascene.com - MTBing in Wilts and the southwest, join up for info and ride details.
  • cgarossicgarossi Posts: 729
    If you take no action to move the riders on from your land, you could be implying that they are invited to use it.

    Hmm tricky.

    I think the Private Property. No tresspassing sign should work though.
  • please bear in mind that i am not from a legal background and have no prior knowledge of any land/trespass/personal injusr related insurance/legal cases.


    [/disclaimer]
    {insert smartarse comment here}
  • stumpyjonstumpyjon Posts: 4,069
    1) Yes public liability insurance (although if you don't tell the insurer about the jumps etc. it will probably not be valid, if you do tell them it'll bump the premium up).
    2) No - all the notices in the world will count for nowt unless you take reasonable steps to prevent people from using the jumps, i.e. fence the site, lock the gate, shout at people using the jumps without permission. Even then you may still be liable, utility companies have been prosecuted after people have been hurt on their land despite 10 ft fencing, big notices, locked gates etc.
    3) Probably not, it's not just being successfully sued that they should worry about, even someone attempting to sue them (or someone's irate parent) could well be costly and very stressful.

    Not the answers you're looking for I'm sure but the liability laws in this country are bonkers.
    It's easier to ask for forgiveness than for permission.

    I've bought a new bike....ouch - result
    Can I buy a new bike?...No - no result
  • cavegiantcavegiant Posts: 1,546
    I was about to say this is something to get proper legal advice on (though Stumpy's advice is good),

    most people think it is the injured party or family who sue, it rarely is.

    There is generally an insurance company involved, they sue you, they are good at it and make their living taking peoples homes.

    So worst case scenario:
    Someone crashes and breaks a leg,
    They claim on personal medical.
    Insurance company takes your parents house and land after a lengthy law suit.

    So stressing the point here, your parents can lose their house if you mess this up.

    don't mess it up.
    Why would I care about 150g of bike weight, I just ate 400g of cookies while reading this?
  • Seems a shame that you need to worry about this, but in this day and age there is a good possbility that someone could try and sue you.

    This is something you need to consult qualified legal professional on, no disrepct to anyone who has posted advice, i'm sure some of it is very valid, but as Cavegiant says, there could be very real consequences if something goes wrong, and you don't want to do nothing and end up getting sued because people on a forum said "slap a sign up".

    Again, i'm not belittling anyone's advice just potentially a serious matter
  • GHillGHill Posts: 2,402
    This is something you need to consult qualified legal professional on, no disrepct to anyone who has posted advice, i'm sure some of it is very valid, but as Cavegiant says, there could be very real consequences if something goes wrong, and you don't want to do nothing and end up getting sued because people on a forum said "slap a sign up".

    Have to agree with this completely. Too much risk for your family.
  • The insurance premiums would likely be huge. I don't know how much the circumstances of the cover would differ, but It's the premiums what shut many skateparks down. I think our local skatepark pays somewhere in the region of 20k.

    I believe, though as above I'm no expert, that a No Tresspassing sign won't cover you. It may help, but it's not a gurantee.

    Best thing I guess you can do is only let people you trust to ride there. Unfortunately the growing claim culture is utterly ridiculous.
  • trepassing is a civil offence, not a criminal offence

    you are still responsible if someone comes onto your land to ride jumps you have built for your own use, and sustains an injury

    ignorance is also not a legal defence against a claim, if someone had illegally built jumps on your land without your knowledge (if you were a land owner with a big forest, for example) and injured themselves

    warning signs and trespass will not prevent a legal claim, unfortunately

    the only way to be sure, is to install measures to physically prevent a trespasser from riding your jumps - a big steel bar locked to posts in front of the start jump, so they cannot ride the line


    be aware, that you could expect more claims from a "friend" who has been invited over to ride, and end up breaking their femur or neck, and then sues you....unfortunate, but true

    its VERY doubtful you would get liability cover of any kind for dirt jumps on private land
    Call 01372 476 969 for more information on UK\'s leading freeride park - Esher Shore www.eshershore.com
  • mac_manmac_man Posts: 918
    stumpyjon wrote:
    1) Yes public liability insurance (although if you don't tell the insurer about the jumps etc. it will probably not be valid, if you do tell them it'll bump the premium up).
    2) No - all the notices in the world will count for nowt unless you take reasonable steps to prevent people from using the jumps, i.e. fence the site, lock the gate, shout at people using the jumps without permission. Even then you may still be liable, utility companies have been prosecuted after people have been hurt on their land despite 10 ft fencing, big notices, locked gates etc.
    3) Probably not, it's not just being successfully sued that they should worry about, even someone attempting to sue them (or someone's irate parent) could well be costly and very stressful.

    Not the answers you're looking for I'm sure but the liability laws in this country are bonkers.

    How does this work at places like Gisburn? can somebody sue the Forestry commission (or whoever owns Gisburn) if they fall off their bike on one of the jumps?

    Just curious....

    And not like I have any intention of 'falling off' next time I'm over there. :wink:
    Cool, retro and sometimes downright rude MTB and cycling themed T shirts. Just MTFU.

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  • cavegiantcavegiant Posts: 1,546
    The forestry commision will be insured.

    If you really want to do this there is a way around, it'll cost you a bit of legal fees, but worth it.

    Set up a limited company, sell the land to them.
    If someone sues, the company holds full liability and goes bankrupt. Total loss a few hundred quid of paperwork.

    Or if you are young buy the land.

    No insurance company would sue a kid, you don't have any assets.


    There are way's around this, but you must do something!
    Why would I care about 150g of bike weight, I just ate 400g of cookies while reading this?
  • welshkevwelshkev Posts: 9,690
    mac man wrote:
    stumpyjon wrote:
    1) Yes public liability insurance (although if you don't tell the insurer about the jumps etc. it will probably not be valid, if you do tell them it'll bump the premium up).
    2) No - all the notices in the world will count for nowt unless you take reasonable steps to prevent people from using the jumps, i.e. fence the site, lock the gate, shout at people using the jumps without permission. Even then you may still be liable, utility companies have been prosecuted after people have been hurt on their land despite 10 ft fencing, big notices, locked gates etc.
    3) Probably not, it's not just being successfully sued that they should worry about, even someone attempting to sue them (or someone's irate parent) could well be costly and very stressful.

    Not the answers you're looking for I'm sure but the liability laws in this country are bonkers.

    How does this work at places like Gisburn? can somebody sue the Forestry commission (or whoever owns Gisburn) if they fall off their bike on one of the jumps?

    Just curious....

    And not like I have any intention of 'falling off' next time I'm over there. :wink:

    it happened own here at cwmcarn where a young lad came off the north shore style drop offs and was badly injured( someone said a broken neck but i'm not sure) his dad tried to sue the FC. now all the drops and the big wall ride have been taken away and the boardwalks at afan have been made easier and wider - i think as a result.
  • stumpyjonstumpyjon Posts: 4,069
    Actually I don't think the FC is insured but it is under written effectively by the treasury. As for Gisburn, yes if you fall off you could try and sue (we'd come round and break your other leg obviously :lol: ) but I don't think you'd get too far. The jumps have been inspected and the singletrack has also been inspected. To be succesful in sueing you'd have to prove some form of negligence in the trail construction or maintenance which would be pretty difficult. The biggets problem from a land owners perspective is the threat of being sued and the actual court case. Even if you win you can still be seriously out of pocket not to mention the stress you go through.

    As for Afan, probably just a knee jerk reaction, there was nothing there that was inherently dangerous. FC response will depend on the local employees, if they don't understand or get mountain biking they're likely to view things that are OK as dangerous. This unfortunately has two unfortunate effects:

    1. The trails get dumbed down (I'm no expert rider but even I don't find much of Afan to be massively difficult).
    2. Probably more importantly it'll start an arms race between trail centres and insurers etc. The fact that the trail has been made 'safer' will sort of imply it wasn't safe before making people keener to sue which will in turn lead to more dumbing down of trails ad infinitum.
    It's easier to ask for forgiveness than for permission.

    I've bought a new bike....ouch - result
    Can I buy a new bike?...No - no result
  • passoutpassout Posts: 4,425
    Some good advice above. I would get some professional advice too. I's start with the Health & Safety Executive (www.hse.gov.uk) as they are the people who could investigate if something went wrong. If you are letting people on the land you 'may' need to do a risk assessment but I'm not sure on that one - check with the HSE. Ask about Risk Assessment, Insurance (Public Liability Insurance) and signage.
    'Happiness serves hardly any other purpose than to make unhappiness possible' Marcel Proust.
  • Agree with legal advise needing to be sought. Another problem might exist in the far future in that if people have access to that bit of land, they might claim it as a right of way or permissible pathways. The valuation of your house and land might plummet.

    Unfortunately, having a good intension usually collects people who want to abuse it :(
    CAAD9
    Kona Jake the Snake
    Merlin Malt 4
  • tlw1tlw1 Posts: 21,111
    if you have to go to all this trouble, I would start charging!
  • Before you get suicidal check your parents house insurance. I'm sure there's a clause which covers the home owner for public liability insurance whilst persons are on their land. I may be wrong.
    Giant Anthem X3 2013
  • Transferring the land to a shell company you control won’t cut it if you still occupy the land. In the same way that a standard car insurance policy will not provide cover for racing/sports events, your standard house insurance also won't cover you – this is a special risks category that does not fit with normal residential use. Ask your insurer, if in any doubt.

    If you invite or give permission for someone to be on your land (or where you are treated as having given them permission to be there), the law is set out in the Occupier’s (note: NOT “Owner’s”) Liability Act 1957.

    The Act regulates “the duty which an occupier of premises owes to his visitors in respect of dangers due to the state of the premises or to things done or omitted to be done on them.”

    An occupier owes a duty to take such care as in all the circumstances of the case is reasonable to see that the visitor will be reasonably safe in using the premises for the purposes for which he is invited or permitted by the occupier to be there.

    Note: This duty is owed except in so far as the occupier is free to and does extend, restrict, modify or exclude his duty to any visitor or visitors by agreement or otherwise. So, sticking up large notices warning of the risks involved and making it clear that they accept those risks by using the facilities should work as long as you take reasonable care to ensure the facilities are reasonably safe. If you don’t and they aren’t, no amount of warning notices will serve as a defence to an action for personal injury.

    As for trespassers, the position is governed by the Occupier’s Liability Act 1984. This imposes a slightly lower obligation. If the occupier is aware of the danger (or has reasonable grounds to believe that it exists) AND knows or has reasonable grounds to believe that a trespasser is in (or may come into) the vicinity of the danger AND the risk is one against which the occupier may reasonably be expected to offer the trespasser some protection, the duty can be discharged in most cases by erecting clear and appropriate signs warning of the danger. You don’t actually have to make the facilities reasonably safe to use.

    The problem in all these cases is a) can you prove they weren’t invited or permitted to be there? b) what is “reasonable”? How far do you go? This depends on many factors such as who will be using the facility? You must be prepared for small kids to be less careful than adults, for example. Should the notices be written only in English? What you think is reasonable and what a court thinks is reasonable are not necessarily the same thing and it is easy to criticise once armed with the benefit of hindsight.

    Unless you are doing this professionally making lots of money from hiring out the facility, can afford to maintain it regularly and carry adequate public liability insurance, it’s far better to bar access completely, assuming that’s possible. If it isn’t possible, do you really want to run the risk of being sued without adequate insurance in place? If not, tear it down pronto.
  • cavegiantcavegiant Posts: 1,546
    What he said
    Why would I care about 150g of bike weight, I just ate 400g of cookies while reading this?
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