Yes. A person’s status as a non-member of a social club (clubs of mutual interest usually requiring membership fees to join) does not affect their ability to claim damages for personal injury. In this case, normal landowner liability rules apply, and a person only needs to prove that their injuries were caused by the social club’s negligence.
How are Non-Members Classified Under Normal Landowner Liability Rules?
In most cases, non-members who enter a social club usually come either as invited guests for potential membership, or as guests of current members. Therefore, courts tend to classify non-members either as licensees or invitees, each creating a specific set of obligations for social club owners.
A non-member is likely to be considered a licensee if they enter the club as a social guest of a current member. In this case, the social club is only required to warn the non-member about known dangers. So, for example, if a non-member injures themselves on a broken walkway that the social club was unaware of, the club won’t be held responsible for the non-member’s injuries.
Non-members that are brought to a social club for recruitment purposes are generally considered invitees. Consequently, a social club must do everything reasonable to ensure that the non-members are safe. For example, suppose recruit B injures himself on a faulty stairway at A’s social club. Even if A had no idea about the stairway, he is still responsible for B’s injuries if a court feels A should have known about the stairway’s condition.
How Can a Lawyer Help Me?
If you were injured while visiting a social club, you should contact a personal injury attorney to learn more about your rights. A lawyer can help determine whether you classify as a licensee or invitee, as well as the social club’s violation of its obligations to you.