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Warning signs providing immunity for Pennsylvania equine activity


There are many reasons why Pennsylvanian visitors will enter private property, such as a farm or a stable. If a facility on the private property is used to conduct equine activity, it is likely that several visitors will be on the premises for lessons or activities related to the equestrian activities sponsored or advertised on the property. Pennsylvania residents who engage in equine activity should be aware of the rules regarding liability for negligence, and how immunity could be available to property owners in some situations.

According to Section 602 of Chapter 13 of Pennsylvania law, liability for negligence in equine activities shall only be barred in matters where an adult participant knowingly takes the assumption of risks for the injuries or death that could result from the participation in equine activities. However, immunity could be provided for property or business owners engaged in equine activities when a sign is conspicuously posted on the premises. According to Section 603 of this Act, signs must be at least three feet by two feet to be conspicuous. Additionally, the sign must state the following: you assume the risk of equine activities, pursuant to Pennsylvania law.

While posting a sign on the premises could prevent or reduce the liability of the possessor of an equine, in the event of an injured party, this Act is narrowly construed. Moreover, it is not required that a possessor of an equine be aware of or have evidence of viciousness of the equine if an injury or death is caused from viciousness. In other words, owners are subject to strict liability in these matters, and immunity will not be extended based on warning signs on the premises.

Those harmed while engaging in equine activities should understand his or her situation and what rights and option are available. Depending on the details of the matter, premises liability actions might be a possibility, helping the injured party hold a negligent property owner liable for his or her injuries suffered.

Source: Asci.uvm.edu, "Pennsylvania Equine Activity Statute," accessed on Aug. 31, 2015

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