Many in Pennsylvania assume property owners remain responsible for any incidents on their land regarding premises liability. Yet this presumes people exercise control over predictable and unforeseen events involving visitors they may not even know are on their property.
This can be a sticking point in premises liability claims. When making such a claim, one must understand the duty of care a property owner owes to them.
Defining a visitor’s status
Pennsylvania law follows the standard set by the Restatement (Second) of Torts when classifying visitors onto a property. One such class is trespassers, who venture on a property without the owner’s consent. According to the law, the only duty of care owed to someone trespassing is for property owners to not purposefully injure them through willful neglect or misconduct.
The next class is licensees. These are people privileged to enter a property by virtue of the property owner’s consent. However, their interest in being on the land is typically solely their own. Property owners must protect licensees from hazards that they know to present a risk (or whose existence they should know of through the standard exercise of care) that a licensee would not usually assume existed on the property.
Caring for invitees
The final class of visitors defined by law is invitees. An invitee is invited by the property owner to be on a property (for either personal reasons or events held open to the general public) or a person with whom the property owner has direct or indirect business dealings. Property owners must protect invitees from any hazard presenting an unreasonable risk to their safety.
Those suffering from a failure of such care should call and talk to the team at Conlon Tarker, P.C.