More Protection Afforded Landowners By Pennsylvania Legislature In Proposed Amendment the Recreational Use of Land and Water Act

Date: July 18, 2007

The Pennsylvania Legislature is considering amending the Recreational Use of Land and Water Act to provide more liability protection for landowners. The Act has provided liability protection to landowners who allow recreational use (i.e., hunting, fishing, swimming and hiking) on their unimproved property to the public without a fee for decades.  The Act currently provides as follows:

Except as specifically recognized or provided in section 6 of this act, an owner of land   owes no duty of care to keep the premises safe for entry or use by others for recreational purposes, or to give any warning of a dangerous condition, use, structure, or activity on such premises to persons entering for such purposes.

There are exceptions to the Act whereby a landowner can still be held responsible for malicious and wanton conduct.  The push to amend the Act began after a recent lawsuit resulted in a finding that the owner of a Lehigh County orchard was found partially liable for injuries suffered by a woman struck by a stray bullet from the gun of a hunter who was hunting on the orchard farmer’s property.  The legislature felt compelled to amend the Act to provide more protection to landowners so landowners would not restrict access to hunting on their property.

Separate versions of the amendment to the Act passed both the Senate and the House earlier this year.  DLP will continue to monitor this issue when the Legislature reconsiders the amendment later this year.  If the amendment passes, it will afford more protection to landowners.  Hopefully, any such amendment will not severly limit the rights of innocent victims to make a claim for damages against the party responsible for causing their injuries.

If you have any questions regarding the Recreational Use of Land and Water Act, contact one of the attorneys at DLP for a free consultation.

John P. Finnerty, Esquire

Joe Price
Attorney Joe Price is a seasoned Trial Lawyer serving Northeast, Central and Southeast Pennsylvania for the past forty (40) years. He has handled serious personal injury cases in courts throughout the Federal system including New Jersey and New York. Attorney Price is A.V. Rated by Martindale Hubble. He is Board Certified in Civil Practice by the National Board of Trial Advocacy since 1996.