In the summer, many families have barbecues or parties where family and friends are invited to attend. When homeowners or party hosts invite people to their homes, they have a duty to their guests or invitees. If guests are injured while at their homes, homeowners/hosts may be liable for their injuries.
Consider the following: A family invites their friends with young kids to come over for an afternoon barbecue. The kids are outside playing in the front near the sidewalk. The kids are chasing each other when one of the guest's children trips and falls on the sidewalk. As a result, the child fractures her arm. Can the homeowners be responsible for the child's injuries? Quite possibly.
Below is a discussion of Pennsylvania trip and fall accident law and how the homeowner may be responsible in this situation.
The analysis must begin with the homeowners' duty to their guests, which is provided in Restatement (Second) of Torts Section 343 - Dangerous Conditions Known to or Discoverable by Possessor:
A possessor of land is subject to liability for physical harm caused to his invitees by a condition on the land if, but only if, he
(a) knows or by the exercise of reasonable care would discover the condition, and should realize that it involves an unreasonable risk of harm to such invitees, and
(b) should expect that they will not discover or realize the danger, or will fail to protect themselves against it, and
(c) fails to exercise reasonable care to protect them against the danger.
Therefore, a possessor of land or homeowner has to maintain his property in reasonably safe condition so that his invitees will not be hurt or injured.
In the scenario above, if the child tripped on an uneven sidewalk that the homeowners knew about, they may be liable for the child's injuries. Assume that prior to having the guests over, the homeowners discover that the sidewalk in front of their home is uneven due to a tree root pushing the sidewalk up. The homeowners know that they need to fix the sidewalk or people may trip over it. Therefore, the homeowners will probably be liable for the child's injuries because they knew there was a dangerous condition. If the hosts chose not to fix it before the guests came over, they should have told the children to play in the backyard because they knew that the sidewalk in the front of the house was uneven and dangerous.
If you or a loved one tripped and fell on a sidewalk, you may have legal rights and recover financial compensation. Call Daniel J. O'Brien, Esq. to schedule a FREE consultation. Mr. O'Brien has handled numerous PA trip and fall accidents. 877.944.8396