Managing Liability

Guide to Pennsylvania's Recreational Use of Land and Water Act

A Law Limiting the Liability of Those Who Open Their Land to the Public

The Recreational Use of Land and Water Act limits the liability of property owners who open their land to the public for recreation. This guide describes the immunity provided to owners in regards to claims of personal injury and loss of property and reviews relevant case law.

Last Modified
Jun 17, 2019
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63543 times

Indemnity Agreements and Liability Insurance

Protection From Claims Brought by Third Parties

An individual or organization’s risk of being held liable for personal injury or property damage may be shifted to another party who agrees to accept the risk and who holds liability insurance or sufficient assets to back up the acceptance of the risk. A release agreement guards against a successful lawsuit by the person signing the release; an indemnity agreement, in contrast, ensures that if some other person sues, the indemnifying party will be responsible for handling the claim.

Last Modified
Dec 07, 2023
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64710 times

Overview of Pennsylvania’s Recreational Use of Land and Water Act

The Act limits the liability of property owners who open their land for public recreation, providing them protections against claims of personal injury and property loss.

Last Modified
Jun 17, 2019
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12773 times

Reducing Liability Associated with Public Access

Public access to land for hiking, bird watching, hunting, and other recreational activities raises the possibility of a visitor getting injured and for the owners or managers of the land to then be held liable. Landowners and public access easement and lease holders can take practical steps to minimize the risk of liability.

Last Modified
May 10, 2024
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39658 times

Release of Liability Form

A Tool to Reduce the Risk of Claims for Personal Injury or Property Loss

A properly designed release of liability form signed by a volunteer or participant in an activity can reduce the risk of claims for personal injury or property loss against the organizing or hosting organization. This guide serves as both an introduction to this highly effective tool and a commentary to WeConservePA’s Model Release of Liability Form.

Last Modified
May 17, 2024
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54373 times

Separate Entity to Hold Riskier Properties

Some real property is substantially riskier than other property for an organization to hold and manage, perhaps because of environmental contamination (or suspicion of the same), perhaps because of more intense public use, perhaps for some other reason. Depending on just how great the perceived risk, the organization may want to consider isolating its exposure to that risk by establishing a separate organization—wholly controlled by the founding organization—to hold the riskier property.

Last Modified
Jun 29, 2023
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775 times

Statutory Protection from Liability Related to Public Access

Pennsylvania Law Supports Opening Land to the Public

Public access to land for recreational use raises concern about the possibility of visitor injuries and the potential for the owners or managers of the land to then be held liable. Several Pennsylvania statutes provide overlapping layers of protection from such liability.

Last Modified
Jun 06, 2024
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485 times