Halloween is a fun time of year for kids and adults alike. Parties and trick-or-treating are all part of the fun, but it is your responsibility to keep your home and property safe if you allow trick-or-treaters on your property. If someone were to slip and fall on their way to your door, premises liability law could make you responsible for their injuries.
Slipping and Falling Hazards
Usually, people think of snow and ice as dangerous slip and fall hazards. Here are some others you may want to consider at Halloween time:
- Electrical cords that power Halloween lights and displays
- Decorations sticking out of the ground
- Burned out porch lights that create poor visibility
- Uneven sidewalks
- Ruts in the lawn
What Happens if Someone is Injured on Your Property?
For a homeowner to be held legally responsible for someone’s injuries at their home, one of these 3 conditions must be met:
- The owner must have caused or created the dangerous conditions
- The owner must have known about the dangerous condition but failed to fix it
- The owner should have known about the dangerous condition
If one of these is true, a claim will usually go through your homeowner’s insurance first. Liability/homeowner’s insurance is used to cover unintentional injuries on your property, but if you don’t carry enough liability insurance to cover the claim, you can be held personally financially liable for the injuries.
Premises Liability: What if You Rent Your Property?
If you are a renter, the landlord or management company is usually responsible for keeping the property safe. Though there are some exceptions, especially with single-family units. Check your lease carefully before Halloween or other social occasions so you clearly understand your responsibilities.
Safety Tips for Homeowners at Halloween
To protect the cute trick-or-treaters and yourself, please keep these following tips in mind:
- If your porch light is on, that means you are welcoming trick-or-treaters on to your property.
- If you don’t want trick-or-treaters, turn your outside lights off. You should still remove hazards from your yard. You should never assume that every child will follow the “lights off” policy.
- Repair damage to sidewalks and steps.
- Remove tripping hazards.
- Make sure your decorations are clearly visible. They should not block sidewalks or stairs.
- Make sure the sidewalk and the porch leading to your door are well lit.
- Keep your dog away from trick-or-treaters to prevent dog bite injuries. Costumes and doorbells could frighten your pet and cause the dog to harm children or other adults who may be visiting your home.
If You Are Hurt in a Slip or Fall Accident
- Get medical help as soon as possible.
- Document the scene.
- Limit talking to the property owner. You can tell them you fell, but don’t say anything else or get emotional or angry.
- Get names, addresses and phone numbers of any witnesses.
- Contact a personal injury attorney before talking to the insurance company.
- Do NOT wash or repair the clothes and shoes you were wearing. Store them in a safe place to be used as evidence.
- If the fall happened on rental property, report it to the landlord.
If you are taking your children out on Halloween, remember these trick-or-treating safety tips and be mindful that accidents can happen at any time. If you or your child gets hurt on someone else’s property, contact an experienced personal injury attorney right away.
The Lieser Law Firm will stand by you and will pursue a fair recovery for your personal injury case.
CONTACT The Lieser Law Firm today for a FREE legal consultation.