Code Section Group

Government Code - GOV

TITLE 1. GENERAL [100 - 7914]

  ( Title 1 enacted by Stats. 1943, Ch. 134. )

DIVISION 3.6. CLAIMS AND ACTIONS AGAINST PUBLIC ENTITIES AND PUBLIC EMPLOYEES [810 - 998.3]

  ( Division 3.6 added by Stats. 1963, Ch. 1681. )

PART 2. LIABILITY OF PUBLIC ENTITIES AND PUBLIC EMPLOYEES [814 - 895.8]

  ( Part 2 added by Stats. 1963, Ch. 1681. )

CHAPTER 2. Dangerous Conditions of Public Property [830 - 840.6]

  ( Chapter 2 added by Stats. 1963, Ch. 1681. )

ARTICLE 1. General [830 - 831.8]
  ( Article 1 added by Stats. 1963, Ch. 1681. )

830.
  

As used in this chapter:

(a) “Dangerous condition” means a condition of property that creates a substantial (as distinguished from a minor, trivial or insignificant) risk of injury when such property or adjacent property is used with due care in a manner in which it is reasonably foreseeable that it will be used.

(b) “Protect against” includes repairing, remedying or correcting a dangerous condition, providing safeguards against a dangerous condition, or warning of a dangerous condition.

(c) “Property of a public entity” and “public property” mean real or personal property owned or controlled by the public entity, but do not include easements, encroachments and other property that are located on the property of the public entity but are not owned or controlled by the public entity.

(Added by Stats. 1963, Ch. 1681.)

830.1.
  

For purposes of this chapter, seismic safety improvements or fire sprinkler improvements which are owned, built, controlled, operated, and maintained by the private owner of the building in which they are installed are not public property or property of a public entity solely because the improvements were financed, in whole or in part, by means of the formation of a special assessment district.

(Added by Stats. 1990, Ch. 1318, Sec. 1.)

830.2.
  

A condition is not a dangerous condition within the meaning of this chapter if the trial or appellate court, viewing the evidence most favorably to the plaintiff, determines as a matter of law that the risk created by the condition was of such a minor, trivial or insignificant nature in view of the surrounding circumstances that no reasonable person would conclude that the condition created a substantial risk of injury when such property or adjacent property was used with due care in a manner in which it was reasonably foreseeable that it would be used.

(Added by Stats. 1963, Ch. 1681.)

830.4.
  

A condition is not a dangerous condition within the meaning of this chapter merely because of the failure to provide regulatory traffic control signals, stop signs, yield right-of-way signs, or speed restriction signs, as described by the Vehicle Code, or distinctive roadway markings as described in Section 21460 of the Vehicle Code.

(Added by Stats. 1963, Ch. 1681.)

830.5.
  

(a) Except where the doctrine of res ipsa loquitur is applicable, the happening of the accident which results in the injury is not in and of itself evidence that public property was in a dangerous condition.

(b) The fact that action was taken after an injury occurred to protect against a condition of public property is not evidence that the public property was in a dangerous condition at the time of the injury.

(Added by Stats. 1963, Ch. 1681.)

830.6.
  

Neither a public entity nor a public employee is liable under this chapter for an injury caused by the plan or design of a construction of, or an improvement to, public property where such plan or design has been approved in advance of the construction or improvement by the legislative body of the public entity or by some other body or employee exercising discretionary authority to give such approval or where such plan or design is prepared in conformity with standards previously so approved, if the trial or appellate court determines that there is any substantial evidence upon the basis of which (a) a reasonable public employee could have adopted the plan or design or the standards therefor or (b) a reasonable legislative body or other body or employee could have approved the plan or design or the standards therefor. Notwithstanding notice that constructed or improved public property may no longer be in conformity with a plan or design or a standard which reasonably could be approved by the legislative body or other body or employee, the immunity provided by this section shall continue for a reasonable period of time sufficient to permit the public entity to obtain funds for and carry out remedial work necessary to allow such public property to be in conformity with a plan or design approved by the legislative body of the public entity or other body or employee, or with a plan or design in conformity with a standard previously approved by such legislative body or other body or employee. In the event that the public entity is unable to remedy such public property because of practical impossibility or lack of sufficient funds, the immunity provided by this section shall remain so long as such public entity shall reasonably attempt to provide adequate warnings of the existence of the condition not conforming to the approved plan or design or to the approved standard. However, where a person fails to heed such warning or occupies public property despite such warning, such failure or occupation shall not in itself constitute an assumption of the risk of the danger indicated by the warning.

(Amended by Stats. 1979, Ch. 481.)

830.8.
  

Neither a public entity nor a public employee is liable under this chapter for an injury caused by the failure to provide traffic or warning signals, signs, markings or devices described in the Vehicle Code. Nothing in this section exonerates a public entity or public employee from liability for injury proximately caused by such failure if a signal, sign, marking or device (other than one described in Section 830.4) was necessary to warn of a dangerous condition which endangered the safe movement of traffic and which would not be reasonably apparent to, and would not have been anticipated by, a person exercising due care.

(Added by Stats. 1963, Ch. 1681.)

830.9.
  

Neither a public entity nor a public employee is liable for an injury caused by the operation or nonoperation of official traffic control signals when controlled by an emergency vehicle in accordance with the provisions of subdivision (a) of Section 25258 of the Vehicle Code.

(Added by Stats. 1967, Ch. 1037.)

831.
  

Neither a public entity nor a public employee is liable for an injury caused by the effect on the use of streets and highways of weather conditions as such. Nothing in this section exonerates a public entity or public employee from liability for injury proximately caused by such effect if it would not be reasonably apparent to, and would not be anticipated by, a person exercising due care. For the purpose of this section, the effect on the use of streets and highways of weather conditions includes the effect of fog, wind, rain, flood, ice or snow but does not include physical damage to or deterioration of streets and highways resulting from weather conditions.

(Added by Stats. 1963, Ch. 1681.)

831.2.
  

Neither a public entity nor a public employee is liable for an injury caused by a natural condition of any unimproved public property, including but not limited to any natural condition of any lake, stream, bay, river or beach.

(Added by Stats. 1963, Ch. 1681.)

831.21.
  

(a) Public beaches shall be deemed to be in a natural condition and unimproved notwithstanding the provision or absence of public safety services such as lifeguards, police or sheriff patrols, medical services, fire protection services, beach cleanup services, or signs. The provisions of this section shall apply only to natural conditions of public property and shall not limit any liability or immunity that may otherwise exist pursuant to this division.

(b) This section shall only be applicable to causes of action based upon acts or omissions occurring on or after January 1, 1988.

(Added by Stats. 1987, Ch. 1209, Sec. 1.)

831.25.
  

(a) Neither a public entity nor a public employee is liable for any damage or injury to property, or for emotional distress unless the plaintiff has suffered substantial physical injury, off the public entity’s property caused by land failure of any unimproved public property if the land failure was caused by a natural condition of the unimproved public property.

(b) For the purposes of this section, a natural condition exists and property shall be deemed unimproved notwithstanding the intervention of minor improvements made for the preservation or prudent management of the property in its unimproved state that did not contribute to the land failure.

(c) As used in this section, “land failure” means any movement of land, including a landslide, mudslide, creep, subsidence, and any other gradual or rapid movement of land.

(d) This section shall not benefit any public entity or public employee who had actual notice of probable damage that is likely to occur outside the public property because of land failure and who fails to give a reasonable warning of the danger to the affected property owners. Neither a public entity nor a public employee is liable for any damage or injury arising from the giving of a warning under this section.

(e) Nothing in this section shall limit the immunity provided by Section 831.2.

(f) Nothing in this section creates a duty of care or basis of liability for damage or injury to property or of liability for emotional distress.

(Amended by Stats. 1988, Ch. 1034, Sec. 1.)

831.3.
  

Neither a public entity nor a public employee is liable for any injury occurring on account of the grading or the performance of other maintenance or repair on or reconstruction or replacement of any road which has not officially been accepted as a part of the road system under the jurisdiction of the public entity if the grading, maintenance, repair, or reconstruction or replacement is performed with reasonable care and leaves the road in no more dangerous or unsafe condition than it was before the work commenced. No act of grading, maintenance, repair, or reconstruction or replacement within the meaning of this section shall be deemed to give rise to any duty of the public entity to continue any grading, maintenance, repair, or reconstruction or replacement on any road not a part of the road system under the public entity’s jurisdiction. As used in this section “reconstruction or replacement” means reconstruction or replacement performed pursuant to Article 3 (commencing with Section 1160) of Chapter 4 of Division 2 of the Streets and Highways Code.

(Amended by Stats. 1986, Ch. 578, Sec. 1. Effective August 26, 1986.)

831.4.
  

A public entity, public employee, or a grantor of a public easement to a public entity for any of the following purposes, is not liable for an injury caused by a condition of:

(a) Any unpaved road which provides access to fishing, hunting, camping, hiking, riding, including animal and all types of vehicular riding, water sports, recreational or scenic areas and which is not a (1) city street or highway or (2) county, state or federal highway or (3) public street or highway of a joint highway district, boulevard district, bridge and highway district or similar district formed for the improvement or building of public streets or highways.

(b) Any trail used for the above purposes.

(c) Any paved trail, walkway, path, or sidewalk on an easement of way which has been granted to a public entity, which easement provides access to any unimproved property, so long as such public entity shall reasonably attempt to provide adequate warnings of the existence of any condition of the paved trail, walkway, path, or sidewalk which constitutes a hazard to health or safety. Warnings required by this subdivision shall only be required where pathways are paved, and such requirement shall not be construed to be a standard of care for any unpaved pathways or roads.

(Amended by Stats. 1979, Ch. 1010.)

831.5.
  

(a) The Legislature declares that innovative public access programs, such as agreements with public land trusts, can provide effective and responsible alternatives to costly public acquisition programs. The Legislature therefore declares that it is beneficial to the people of this state to encourage private nonprofit entities such as public land trusts to carry out programs that preserve open space or increase opportunities for the public to enjoy access to and use of natural resources if the programs are consistent (1) with public safety, (2) with the protection of the resources, and (3) with public and private rights.

(b) For the purposes of Sections 831.2, 831.25, 831.4, and 831.7, “public entity” includes a public land trust which meets all of the following conditions:

(1)  It is a nonprofit organization existing under the provisions of Section 501(c) of the United States Internal Revenue Code.

(2)  It has specifically set forth in its articles of incorporation, as among its principal charitable purposes, the conservation of land for public access, agricultural, scientific, historical, educational, recreational, scenic, or open-space opportunities.

(3)  It has entered into an agreement with the State Coastal Conservancy for lands located within the coastal zone, as defined in Section 31006 of the Public Resources Code, with the California Tahoe Conservancy or its designee for lands located within the Lake Tahoe region, as defined in subdivision (c) of Section 66953 of the Government Code, or with the State Public Works Board or its designee for lands not located within the coastal zone or the Lake Tahoe region, on such terms and conditions as are mutually agreeable, requiring the public land trust to hold the lands or, where appropriate, to provide nondiscriminatory public access consistent with the protection and conservation of either coastal or other natural resources, or both. The conservancy or the board, as appropriate, shall periodically review the agreement and determine whether the public land trust is in compliance with the terms and conditions. In the event the conservancy or the board determines that the public land trust is not in substantial compliance with the agreement, the conservancy or the board shall cancel the agreement, and the provisions of Sections 831.2, 831.25, 831.4, and 831.7 shall no longer apply with regard to that public land trust.

(c) For the purposes of Sections 831.2, 831.25, 831.4, and 831.7, “public employee” includes an officer, authorized agent, or employee of any public land trust which is a public entity.

(Amended by Stats. 1990, Ch. 934, Sec. 2.)

831.6.
  

Neither the State nor an employee of the State is liable under this chapter for any injury caused by a condition of the unimproved and unoccupied portions of:

(a) The ungranted tidelands and submerged lands, and the beds of navigable rivers, streams, lakes, bays, estuaries, inlets and straits, owned by the State.

(b) The unsold portions of the 16th and 36th sections of school lands, the unsold portions of the 500,000 acres granted to the State for school purposes, and the unsold portions of the listed lands selected of the United States in lieu of the 16th and 36th sections and losses to the school grant.

(Added by Stats. 1963, Ch. 1681.)

831.7.
  

(a) Neither a public entity nor a public employee is liable to any person who participates in a hazardous recreational activity, including any person who assists the participant, or to any spectator who knew or reasonably should have known that the hazardous recreational activity created a substantial risk of injury to himself or herself and was voluntarily in the place of risk, or having the ability to do so failed to leave, for any damage or injury to property or persons arising out of that hazardous recreational activity.

(b) As used in this section, “hazardous recreational activity” means a recreational activity conducted on property of a public entity that creates a substantial, as distinguished from a minor, trivial, or insignificant, risk of injury to a participant or a spectator.

“Hazardous recreational activity” also means:

(1) Water contact activities, except diving, in places where, or at a time when, lifeguards are not provided and reasonable warning thereof has been given, or the injured party should reasonably have known that there was no lifeguard provided at the time.

(2) Any form of diving into water from other than a diving board or diving platform, or at any place or from any structure where diving is prohibited and reasonable warning thereof has been given.

(3) Animal riding, including equestrian competition, archery, bicycle racing or jumping, bicycle motocross, mountain bicycling, boating, cross-country and downhill skiing, hang gliding, kayaking, motorized vehicle racing, off-road motorcycling or four-wheel driving of any kind, orienteering, pistol and rifle shooting, rock climbing, rocketeering, rodeo, self-contained underwater breathing apparatus (SCUBA) diving, spelunking, skydiving, sport parachuting, paragliding, body contact sports, surfing, trampolining, tree climbing, tree rope swinging, waterskiing, white water rafting, and windsurfing. For the purposes of this subdivision, “mountain bicycling” does not include riding a bicycle on paved pathways, roadways, or sidewalks. For the purpose of this paragraph, “body contact sports” means sports in which it is reasonably foreseeable that there will be rough bodily contact with one or more participants.

(c) (1) Notwithstanding subdivision (a), this section does not limit liability that would otherwise exist for any of the following:

(A) Failure of the public entity or employee to guard or warn of a known dangerous condition or of another hazardous recreational activity known to the public entity or employee that is not reasonably assumed by the participant as inherently a part of the hazardous recreational activity out of which the damage or injury arose.

(B) Damage or injury suffered in any case where permission to participate in the hazardous recreational activity was granted for a specific fee. For the purpose of this subparagraph, “specific fee” does not include a fee or consideration charged for a general purpose such as a general park admission charge, a vehicle entry or parking fee, or an administrative or group use application or permit fee, as distinguished from a specific fee charged for participation in the specific hazardous recreational activity out of which the damage or injury arose.

(C) Injury suffered to the extent proximately caused by the negligent failure of the public entity or public employee to properly construct or maintain in good repair any structure, recreational equipment or machinery, or substantial work of improvement utilized in the hazardous recreational activity out of which the damage or injury arose.

(D) Damage or injury suffered in any case where the public entity or employee recklessly or with gross negligence promoted the participation in or observance of a hazardous recreational activity. For purposes of this subparagraph, promotional literature or a public announcement or advertisement that merely describes the available facilities and services on the property does not in itself constitute a reckless or grossly negligent promotion.

(E) An act of gross negligence by a public entity or a public employee that is the proximate cause of the injury.

(2) Nothing in this subdivision creates a duty of care or basis of liability for personal injury or damage to personal property.

(d) Nothing in this section limits the liability of an independent concessionaire, or any person or organization other than the public entity, whether or not the person or organization has a contractual relationship with the public entity to use the public property, for injuries or damages suffered in any case as a result of the operation of a hazardous recreational activity on public property by the concessionaire, person, or organization.

(Amended by Stats. 2014, Ch. 913, Sec. 17. (AB 2747) Effective January 1, 2015.)

831.7.5.
  

(a) A public entity that owns or operates a dog park shall not be held liable for injury or death of a person or pet resulting solely from the actions of a dog in the dog park.

(b) This section shall not be construed to affect the liability of a public entity that exists under the law.

(c) “Public entity” has the same meaning as Section 811.2, and includes, but is not limited to, cities, counties, cities and counties, and special districts.

(Added by Stats. 2013, Ch. 74, Sec. 1. (AB 265) Effective January 1, 2014.)

831.8.
  

(a) Subject to subdivisions (d) and (e), neither a public entity nor a public employee is liable under this chapter for an injury caused by the condition of a reservoir if at the time of the injury the person injured was using the property for any purpose other than that for which the public entity intended or permitted the property to be used.

(b) Subject to subdivisions (d) and (e), neither an irrigation district nor an employee thereof nor the state nor a state employee is liable under this chapter for an injury caused by the condition of canals, conduits, or drains used for the distribution of water if at the time of the injury the person injured was using the property for any purpose other than that for which the district or state intended it to be used.

(c) Subject to subdivisions (d) and (e), neither a public agency operating flood control and water conservation facilities nor its employees are liable under this chapter for an injury caused by the condition or use of unlined flood control channels or adjacent groundwater recharge spreading grounds if, at the time of the injury, the person injured was using the property for any purpose other than that for which the public entity intended it to be used, and, if all of the following conditions are met:

(1) The public agency operates and maintains dams, pipes, channels, and appurtenant facilities to provide flood control protection and water conservation for a county whose population exceeds nine million residents.

(2) The public agency operates facilities to recharge a groundwater basin system which is the primary water supply for more than one million residents.

(3) The groundwater supply is dependent on imported water recharge which must be conducted in accordance with court-imposed basin management restrictions.

(4) The basin recharge activities allow the conservation and storage of both local and imported water supplies when these waters are available.

(5) The public agency posts conspicuous signs warning of any increase in waterflow levels of an unlined flood control channel or any spreading ground receiving water.

(d) Nothing in this section exonerates a public entity or a public employee from liability for injury proximately caused by a dangerous condition of property if all of the following occur:

(1) The injured person was not guilty of a criminal offense under Article 1 (commencing with Section 552) of Chapter 12 of Title 13 of Part 1 of the Penal Code in entering on or using the property.

(2) The condition created a substantial and unreasonable risk of death or serious bodily harm when the property or adjacent property was used with due care in a manner in which it was reasonably foreseeable that it would be used.

(3) The dangerous character of the condition was not reasonably apparent to, and would not have been anticipated by, a mature, reasonable person using the property with due care.

(4) The public entity or the public employee had actual knowledge of the condition and knew or should have known of its dangerous character a sufficient time prior to the injury to have taken measures to protect against the condition.

(e) Nothing in this section exonerates a public entity or a public employee from liability for injury proximately caused by a dangerous condition of property if all of the following occur:

(1) The person injured was less than 12 years of age.

(2) The dangerous condition created a substantial and unreasonable risk of death or serious bodily harm to children under 12 years of age using the property or adjacent property with due care in a manner in which it was reasonably foreseeable that it would be used.

(3) The person injured, because of his or her immaturity, did not discover the condition or did not appreciate its dangerous character.

(4) The public entity or the public employee had actual knowledge of the condition and knew or should have known of its dangerous character a sufficient time prior to the injury to have taken measures to protect against the condition.

(f) Nothing in subdivision (c) exonerates a public agency or public employee subject to that subdivision from liability for injury proximately caused by a dangerous condition of public property if all of the following occur:

(1) The person injured was 16 years of age or younger.

(2) The dangerous condition created a substantial and unreasonable risk of death or serious bodily harm to children 16 years of age or younger using the property or adjacent property with due care in a manner in which it was reasonably foreseeable that it would be used.

(3) The person injured did not discover the condition or did not appreciate its dangerous character because of his or her immaturity.

(4) The public entity or public employee had actual knowledge of the condition and knew or should have known of its dangerous character a sufficient time prior to the injury to have taken measures to protect against the condition.

(Amended by Stats. 2012, Ch. 110, Sec. 1. (AB 1558) Effective January 1, 2013.)

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