The Law Firm of Leisawitz Heller

What is the rule for the premises liability for local government?

"Premises liability" is the law that applies to cases in which a person sues another party due to an injury suffered on the other party's property. These cases are sometimes called "slip-and-fall cases," because dangerous conditions on another party's property often result in injuries when the injured party falls due to the dangerous condition.

Premises liability cases are often filed against private parties, such as homeowners and store owners and operators. But, what about when the injury happens on property owned by a local government? There are some important facts about the potential liability of a Pennsylvania local government in a premises liability case that our readers need to know.

The Pennsylvania General Assembly has enacted laws indicating when a local government might be liable under premises liability law. Under Pennsylvania state law, local governments are responsible for the care, custody and control of real property in the possession of the local government. In many cases, if a person is injured due to negligent care, custody or control of real property in the possession of a local government, that local government may be liable to the injured party for premises liability.

There is an exception to this rule of liability for local governments. If a person suffers an injury while intentionally trespassing on real property in the possession of the local government, the local government may not be liable for the injury. There are also special rules that apply when an injury is alleged to have resulted from trees, traffic controls and street lighting. There are other rules that apply for utility service facilities, streets and sidewalks.

Source: Pennsylvania General Assembly, "§ 8542. Exceptions to governmental immunity.," accessed on Aug. 26, 2017

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