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Under Vermont statutes, a landowner has a general duty of care with regard to trespassers, any person not invited to enter the property (entry onto land not posted, e.g.), or any person entering the owner’s land for recreational use without paying a fee.
In general, landowner liability for injuries is limited to those that occur as a result of intentional or extremely reckless misconduct by the owner. If the owner knows of an unobvious, extremely dangerous hazard (such as an unmarked well), then the owner should take steps to provide an effective warning about the hazard. A landowner does not have to ensure that his or her land is completely safe, but the landowner may not intentionally or negligently (failure to maintain a sidewalk, e.g.) create a risk to anyone who may enter their land. Trespassers, uninvited persons, and recreational users must exercise due care for their own safety while on the land.
Vermont’s general trespassing statute and recreational-use limited liability statute are linked below.
Disclaimer: This post contains general legal information and should not be construed as legal advice to be applied to any specific factual situation. Each reader should consult a lawyer if you want a qualified professional’s assurance that this information, and your interpretation of it, is appropriate to your particular situation.
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