Friday, 25 May 2007

Bill in PA legislature would limit landowner liability

by Damon Boughamer
Public Radio Capitol News, serving Pennsylvania

Harrisburg, Penna. (PRCN, 24 May 2007) - If you let someone hunt on your land in Pennsylvania, without charging a fee, the law limits your liability in cases of on-property injury.

But what if a bullet fired from your land strikes someone on nearby property?

The state legislature is trying to clarify the answer to that question.

A stray bullet fired from a Lehigh County orchard by a hunter travelled half a mile before accidentally hitting a woman sitting in a car on someone else's property.

Last year, a court found the orchard owner partially liable for damages.

A bill approved unanimously by the state House would make it clear that the landowner will not be faulted in these rare cases.

Mark O'Neill with the Pennsylvania Farm Bureau says it's "something that probably was not considered back in 1965 when they considered the ability to give farmers and other landowners liability protection if someone was on their land and an accident occurred or damages occurred."

The legislation sponsored by Allegheny County Democrat Harry Readshaw amends laws originally enacted to shield farmers in 1965.

The bill heads next to the Senate.


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