Halloween Falls While Trick or Treating - Is the Property Owner Liable?
Are you handing out candy to trick-or-treaters this year in Stockton? If so, you need to be aware of the potential for liability if a trick-or-treater is injured on your property. In some cases, a court could hold you responsible for damages, if a child or adult falls on your property this Halloween.
How Can I Be Liable for a Trick-or-Treater?
Under California premises liability laws, if you invite someone on your property, that person has the right to assume the property is safe. You have a duty of care to take reasonable steps to ensure your guests are safe while on your property. Therefore, if you are handing out candy on Halloween, you are “inviting” people to come onto your property to get candy. If one of those trick-or-treaters or an adult accompanying a child falls and suffers an injury, you could be held liable if the person can prove that:
- A dangerous or hazardous condition existed on your property;
- You knew or should have reasonably known that the condition existed;
- You did not warn visitors of the hazard or correct the hazard;
- The person fell and was injured because of the hazard; and,
- The person suffered damages because of the fall.
Damages that you could be held liable for if someone falls on your property includes their medical bills, lost wages, emotional stress, physical pain, scarring, and permanent disability.
Protect Yourself Against Liability
If you are handing out candy this year, take steps to reduce the risk of someone falling on your property:
- Add extra lighting to make your property more visible to guests.
- Remove any debris, outdoor furniture, toys, decorations, or other obstacles that could be a hazard.
- Consider illuminating your walkway to help trick-or-treaters see the path and encourage them to walk on the pathway. You can use glow sticks, LED lights, spotlights, solar-powered lights, or battery-operated lights. Avoid using extension cords as these can create a tripping hazard.
- Roll up garden hoses and store them to avoid trips and falls.
- Fill in any holes in your yard and repair cracks or holes in sidewalks and driveways or place barriers around these areas to prevent anyone from falling.
- Keep dogs, cats, and other animals secured in your home or backyard.
- Consider giving out treats at the end of your driveway so that trick-or-treaters do not need to walk through your yard.
- When you are ready to stop giving out candy, turn all lights off, both inside and outside, so you do not attract any other trick-or-treaters.
Stockton Premises Liability Attorneys
We hope you have a safe Halloween this year. However, if you are injured in a slip and fall accident, we are here to help you file a claim.
Contact Torem & Associates by telephone at (209) 500-5000 or 1-800-954-4444 or online by using the contact form on our website. Visit our new office locations at 4557 Quail Lakes Drive, Stockton, CA 95207.