HomeOutdoorsMichigan Proposed Bill Would Limit ‘Ridiculous Lawsuits’ Against Campground Owners

Michigan Proposed Bill Would Limit ‘Ridiculous Lawsuits’ Against Campground Owners

by Victoria Santiago
(Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)

There’s a new bipartisan plan that hopes to protect Michigan campground owners against lawsuits. It is called House Bill 5862. The plan was introduced on March 8 by State Representative Ken Borton. HB 5862 wants to preserve and protect campgrounds in the state from being unnecessarily sued.

According to a press release, House Bill 5862 will help shield campgrounds from being sued for things that naturally happen with camping.

“Northern Michigan campgrounds are great vacation spots for local residents and tourists to stay in our scenic outdoors,” said Rep. Borton. “We all want to keep these venues open and safe for campers to enjoy. My plan will protect our camps from ridiculous lawsuits, ensuring safety without requiring unnecessary interference with our natural environment.”

When talking about HB 5862, Rep. Borton noted that a similar plan had recently been passed and signed into law in Ohio.

At this time, HB 5862 has been referred to the Committee on Judiciary.

Many Are In Favor Of This Bill Against Michigan Campground Lawsuits

Many campground owners in Michigan are in favor of this bill being passed.

“There are countless opportunities for camping in Michigan — with unlimited benefits,” said one campground owner. They went on to say that HB 5862 will be very helpful for campground owners. They’ll be able to run safe camps without having to worry about getting sued. Thus, campground owners across the state are looking forward to working with Rep. Borton on the bill.

Many People Are In Favor Of HB 5862, But What Exactly Will It Do?

“Protecting and preserving” campgrounds is pretty vague. We can break down exactly how HB 5862 will benefit Michigan campgrounds. For one, the bill would give immunity to owners or employees of private campgrounds. They would no longer have civil liability for physical harm or property damage that comes from an inherent risk of camping.

For the purpose of this bill, inherent risks include features of the natural world, lack of lighting, weather, campfires, wildlife, other visitors’ actions, fireworks (not authorized by the campground), and use of playground or pool equipment.

Of course, that doesn’t mean that campgrounds will become a free-for-all. HB 5862 would require campgrounds to post signs up at any sign-in areas. The signs would state that the campground is not liable for the risks of camping. Immunity for owners or employees would not apply if warning signs were not up within the camp. This is also true if there have been previous injuries in the campground due to camping risks.

Another key point of HB 5862 is making sure that camping is safe. Basically, camping isn’t going to get more dangerous. Owners and employees aren’t totally off the hook with this new bill. In fact, there will still be safety guidelines to follow. Modern Campground reports that HB 5862 expects campgrounds to follow reasonable safety rules. Thus, an owner or employee would not be given immunity for intentional harm or reckless disregard for safety.