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Business Patron Killed While Crossing State Road, Business Not Liable

When personal injury occurs the details of the accident are key in determining who might be potentially liable, or responsible, for the injury.  The location of the accident is one huge detail that determines liability.  A business owner might be held liable for injuries sustained by patrons on the business's property, but what about a patron who is crossing the road to get to the business?  A recent Philadelphia County case sheds light on this issue.

A Philadelphia County Judge recently decided that two businesses will not be held liable for the fatal accident that took the life of one of the businesses patrons.  Back in 2010, the victim, Victor Newall, watched a band play at a bar, Montana West.  Upon leaving the performance he crossed State Route 309 to return to his car, which he parked across the highway in the parking lot of another business (DHL Machine Co.).  There was an understanding between the two businesses that patrons from the bar where permitted to park in the DHL parking lot after hours.  The bar parking lot had limited spaces available for its patrons.

The victims family argued that this agreement gave the businesses a duty to warn its customers of the dangers of the highway that ran between the two businesses and the parking lots.  The plaintiffs argued that the bar knew it had insufficient parking which forced its partons to park across the highway and it was negligent for them not to warn their patrons of the dangers of the highway.

The judge did not agree, finding that property owners of land abutting a state road are not liable for injuries sustained by pedestrians or motorists on the state road.  Had the victim been injured in one of the parking lot of the businesses then liability might have attached.  The court found in this case that there was no duty on the part of either business to warn the patrons of the dangers of the state road.   

Source:  "Businesses Not Liable for Fatal Accident on State Road" by P.J. D'Annunzio, The Legal Intelligencer, October 3, 2014

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