With Halloween quickly approaching, thousands of children across the country will put on their costumes and rush from door to door in their neighborhood, hoping to snag some coveted candy bars and treats. In Central New York, late October means less daylight, cooler weather, and sometimes even snow. With small children prancing through the streets in Halloween costumes that may be more difficult to see, Halloween can become a holiday that turns dangerous in an instant because of a premises liability accident.
Premises liability is a legal concept that commonly appears in a personal injury lawsuit if the injury was caused by unsafe conditions on someone’s property. In a premises liability case, the injured must be able to prove that the owner of the property was negligent with his or her maintenance of the property on which the victim was injured. This generally means that the owner created or had actual or constructive notice of a dangerous condition on their property and failed to remedy the hazard. It is important to remember that not every time you are injured on someone else’s property is the property owner automatically negligent. Accidents happen and sometimes it is nobody’s fault. However, if the homeowner actually created a hazard that caused you to injure yourself or knew about the hazard on his or her property and didn’t remove or correct the problem, then they may be responsible for damages for your injury, including your medical bills, lost time from work and pain and suffering.
As children are excitedly skipping from house to house for candy while dressed in their Halloween costumes, sometimes with hindered vision, a tripping hazard left in your front yard could suddenly become a premises liability lawsuit. While we encourage everyone to get into the spirit with their Halloween decorations, it is important to consider the safety of others first.
Take a look at these steps in preventing a slip and fall accident on Halloween:
Light it up!
If you are prepared for Trick-or-Treaters, be sure to turn on your porch light to let parents know you are giving out treats. Also, make sure the pathway to your door is well-lit.
Prepare your yard.
Put away any rakes, shovels, or other items that will be a hazard to children in the dark.
Use battery-powered lights instead of candles.
Thanks to ever-improving technology, we have battery-powered lanterns to replace candles. Although it is more authentic, a child could easily knock over a Jack-o-lantern and cause a fire. Play it safe and stick to battery-powered.
Consider motion sensor lights.
If you do not have them installed already, consider getting motion sensor lights that will brighten your driveway with movement, making it easier for Trick-or-Treaters to get to your door.
Check your decorations.
Before hanging up any decorative lights, check for loose connections, broken sockets, and bare wires. While decorating, also avoid overloading extension cords.
If the worst occurs and a person is injured on your property, remember to stay calm. Make sure they are okay and call 911 if needed. As soon as possible, inform your homeowner’s insurance provider of a potential claim. There are usually time restrictions so it is best to be prepared for any coverage issues as soon as possible. Then, investigate and document the site of the accident. If you did not see the accident occur, try to obtain witnesses that may have seen what occurred prior to and at the time of the slip and fall. Record the details they tell you and take down their contact information. Next, take photos of the accident. Though the injured may already haven taken photos, you do not want to solely rely on photos that may be used against you. Finally, not just at Halloween time, but all through the year, take the time to prevent accidents around your home. Fix sidewalks, tighten loose rails, fix broken steps, shovel snow, and take all necessary steps to ensure an accident does not happen at your home due to a dangerous condition on your property.
If you or a loved one has been injured in an on-site accident, you need experienced premises liability lawyers in Central New York. The People’s Lawyer has years of experience with premises liability accidents and will fight to get you the compensation you deserve. Contact Brindisi, Murad, Brindisi & Pearlman for a free consultation today.
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