Effective October 23, 2017, New York became the 48thstate to enact an equine activity liability law. The new law was included in the New York State Safety in Agricultural Tourism Act. Unlike most other state’s equine activity liability laws, the New York law governs liability of operators of “agricultural tourism”, and “equine activities both outdoors and indoors but excluding equine therapy” are considered agricultural tourism for this purpose. See here for the text of the new law.
Under the new law, operators of equine activities are not liable for an injury to or death of a visitor if the following requirements are met:
The NYS Department of Agriculture and Markets guidance indicates that either the failure to disclose a foreseeable risk or the failure to take reasonable care to prevent foreseeable risks could result in the loss of statutory protection. Additionally, operators should assess risk through the eyes of a visitor who is unfamiliar with the farm’s operations.
Note that the operator may establish additional rules of conduct to help manage risks, which may be more specific or robust than what is required by the statute. If properly displayed or communicated, these rules may provide further protection from liability.
The law also imposes responsibilities on visitors to: