Section 53159


As used in this section, the following terms have the following meanings:


Expenses of an emergency response means those reasonable and necessary costs directly incurred by public agencies, for-profit entities, or not-for-profit entities that make an appropriate emergency response to an incident, and include the cost of providing police, firefighting, search and rescue, and emergency medical services at the scene of an incident, and salaries of the persons who respond to the incident, but does not include charges assessed by an ambulance service.


Public agency means the state and any city, county, municipal corporation, or other public authority that is located in whole or in part in this state and that provides police, firefighting, medical, or other emergency services.


Any person who intentionally, knowingly, and willfully enters into any area that is closed or has been closed to the public by competent authority for any reason, or an area that a reasonable person under the circumstances should have known was closed to the public, is liable for the expenses of an emergency response required to search for or rescue that person, or if the person was operating a vehicle, any of his or her passengers, plus the expenses for the removal of any inoperable vehicle. Posting a sign, placing a barricade, a restraining or retaining wall, roping off an area, or any other device is sufficient indication that an area is closed to the public due to danger of injury, for the publics safety, or for any other reason.


A person who drives a vehicle on a public street or highway that is temporarily covered by a rise in water level, including groundwater or overflow of water, and that is barricaded by any of the means described in subdivision (b), because of flooding, is liable for the expenses of any emergency response that is required to remove from the public street or highway, the driver, or any passenger in the vehicle that has become inoperable on the public street or highway, or the vehicle that has become inoperable on the public street or highway.


Unless otherwise provided by law, this section shall apply to all persons, regardless of whether the person is on foot, on skis or snowshoes, or is operating a motor vehicle, bicycle, vessel, watercraft, raft, snowmobile, all-terrain vehicle, or any other boat or vehicle of any description.


This section shall not apply to any person who is authorized by the landowner, lessor, or manager of the closed area, to be in the closed area, and further shall have no application to any federal, state, or local government official who is in the closed area as part of his or her official duty, nor to any public utility performing services consistent with its public purpose, nor to any person acting in concert with a government authorized search or rescue. A person who was attempting to rescue another person or an animal shall not be liable for expenses of an emergency response under this section.


Expenses of an emergency response are a charge against the person liable for those expenses pursuant to subdivision (b) or (c). The charge constitutes a debt of that person and may be collected proportionately as specified in subdivision (g). The debt shall apply only to the person who intentionally, knowingly, and willfully enters the closed area, and not to his or her family, heirs, or assigns. The parent or parents of a minor child who has violated subdivision (b) or (c) may be responsible for the debt.


The debt may be collected proportionately by the public agencies, for-profit entities, and not-for-profit entities that incur the expenses. The liability imposed under this section shall be in addition to, and not in limitation of, any other liability, fines, or fees that are imposed by law.


An insurance policy may exclude coverage for a persons liability for expenses of an emergency response.
Last accessed
Dec. 5, 2016