Homeowner Responsibilities When Having Parties
Most people like to have parties and gatherings for friends and family. Occasionally someone gets injured. Unfortunately, a few of those injuries are serious and life-changing. Is the homeowner responsible for those life-changing injuries? The answer is maybe. Pennsylvania law imposes three levels of responsibility on those who own or possess land for injuries to others on that land. The first and highest level of responsibility goes to a business owner who holds their property open to the general public. The lowest level of landowner goes to the trespasser on the land. Oddly enough, we occasionally owe a duty to a trespasser. The level of responsibility that most of us encounter when having parties is in between the business invitee and the trespasser.
Social hosts have a duty to warn guests of dangers that would not be obvious to them. For instance, if you have a porch railing that is a little loose, you should give people a heads up not to lean on it. If you have a drainage pipe that is hard to see because it just sticks up above ground level, you should let people know if they are gathered near that area. However, if the danger or defect of your property is open and obvious, then your guests are responsible for their own safety. What a reasonable person would do is the standard by which Pennsylvania personal injury premise liability law is measured.
If you are in doubt, the attorneys at Rankin & Gregory (RG Injury Law) will help you make that determination. If you have been seriously injured on someone’s property or you want to make sure that you are doing the right thing for your guests, do not hesitate to call Chad Rankin or Bill Gregory at 717.656.5000 for a free consultation.