With fall in the air, you know what that means – it is spooky season. This is a fun time; most families love being together, trick-or-treating, dressing up, and walking through haunted houses. When you think of spooky season, you probably don’t consider the injuries you may sustain while on someone else’s property. Unfortunately, Halloween-related accidents are not uncommon.
Do you know your rights if you slip and fall on someone else’s property? Can you hold the home or property owner where you fell liable for damages and injuries?
Yes, a property or homeowner can be held responsible if you were injured on their property. To do this, they must have acted recklessly or negligently, and this recklessness or negligence must have been the cause of your injury. Property owners owe anyone legally visiting their property a duty of care. They should take steps to ensure no accidents occur and that everyone is safe. If unsafe conditions are present, the property owner should fix the problem or warn others about it.
An example would be if there were defective stairs on the homeowner’s front porch. If this is the case, a sign should be posted to warn people about the issue. If the steps are not fixed, no sign is posted, and someone falls, the injured party can pursue legal action.
What Is Premises Liability?
Premises liability refers to home or property owners being held liable for visitors injured on their property. During Halloween, trick-or-treaters are usually considered “invitees” if the porch light is on or there is candy on the porch. Because they are invited onto the property, the property owner owes them a reasonable level of care, as described above.
If they do not provide this care and someone is injured on Halloween due to a slip, fall, or other cause, the property owner can be held liable.
Common Accidents and Injuries That Occur While Trick-or-Treating
Identifying potential risks is crucial. This is true if you own the property or not. Property owners may be held responsible for accidents and renters; it will likely be the landlord who is responsible. However, it is smart to check your lease agreement. Many contain provisions for premise liability situations.
Some of the most common accidents that cause trick-or-treaters to be injured on Halloween include:
- Tripping hazards: Homeowners should remove all tripping hazards, such as decorations, broken steps, and power cords. If they are not moved, warn guests about the tripping hazards.
- Fire hazards: Having flickering candles can add a bit of aesthetic appeal to Halloween décor. Unfortunately, they are also fire hazards, and if a trick-or-treater with long sleeves or a cape gets too close to the candles, they may suffer serious burns. The candles could also be knocked over, causing others burn injuries.
- Pumpkin slime: Pumpkins are a staple in any Halloween display; however, if they are knocked over, the inside “slime” may cause trick-or-treaters to slip.
- Inadequate lighting: Proper lighting is needed for any area where trick-or-treaters will be. If they slip or trip on the property or are attacked because of insufficient lighting, the homeowner can be held liable.
- Animal attacks: Pet owners must secure their pets before trick-or-treaters arrive. According to Connecticut law, the owner is liable if the pet attacks someone.
Parents and guardians need to be aware of these potential dangers. This can help them watch for issues and prevent accidents. If an accident does occur, knowing what to do next is essential.
Proving Negligence in Premises Liability Cases,
If you or your child is injured on someone else’s property this Halloween, it is necessary to show the property owner was negligent. Information about proving negligence in premises liability cases is found here.
Document the Incident
As soon as the injury occurs, document everything. Use your smartphone to take photos of where the accident occurred. If there were any hazards like a broken step or slippery walkway, capture that in your photos. Collect contact information from witnesses who saw what happened.
Seek Medical Attention
Before you do anything else, ensure your child receives proper medical care. This will ensure your child’s health and provide a medical record that can be essential when proving negligence.
Consult an Attorney
Consulting a Connecticut premises liability attorney is crucial in determining whether you have a valid negligence claim. A knowledgeable attorney can help you understand your rights and help you file a claim.
Show the Four Elements of Negligence
To win a negligence claim, you must show four key elements:
- Duty of Care: The property owner had a duty to maintain a safe environment.
- Breach: That duty was breached by the property owner’s negligence.
- Causation: This breach caused the injury.
- Damages: There were actual damages, such as medical bills or emotional distress.
Being injured on Halloween is not in most people’s plans. If the unfortunate happens and an injury occurs, knowing what legal rights and options you have is essential.
Understanding Your Rights When Injured on Halloween on Someone Else’s Property
Halloween is right around the corner. While you are likely planning costumes and treats, don’t forget about taking steps to ensure your trick-or-treater is not injured while on someone else’s property.
Knowing your rights will help you take the proper legal steps to recover compensation if an accident occurs. At Jonathan Perkins Injury Lawyers, our premises liability attorneys can help you gather evidence and file a claim to recover compensation for your losses.