With Halloween right around the corner, thousands of children across the state will be donning elaborate costumes and running from door to door in their town, hoping to gather up some sweet treats. In Pittsburgh, late October means shorter days and colder weather, putting children and adults alike at risk of becoming the unwitting participants in a premises liability case.
Owners of private properties and businesses have an obligation to keep their premises safe and free of foreseeable hazards. If an owner fails to do this, an injured visitor may be entitled to file a claim for their injury-related damages. There are several different situations that may give rise to a premises liability lawsuit, including slip and falls, allowing debris to accumulate, dog bites, sidewalk defects, and poorly lit stairs or porches.
As children come running to your door looking for candy while dressed in their Halloween costume that may be limiting some their vision, a simple trip in your front yard could turn into a time-consuming and costly premise liability lawsuit.
The following are some ways to keep your property safe for Halloween visitors.
If you are expecting trick-or-treaters, ensure that your porch and yard lights are functioning properly. Also make sure that the pathway to your front door is well lit. Consider temporarily installing motion sensor lights that will brighten your driveway, yard, and sidewalk when any type of movement occurs.
Clean your yard, stoops, and porch of any obstacles that may present a tripping hazard. If you have temporary extension cords leading to Halloween decorations or exposed tree roots that cannot be removed, make sure these are all clearly marked.
Jack-o-lanterns with burning candles require constant supervision. A child could easily fall over a pumpkin and cause a fire. Instead, opt for an LED candle that flickers, creating the illusion of a real flame.
Throughout the season, be sure to check your decorations for loose connections, faulty bulbs, or loose wires.
If something does happen on your property, stay calm. Check on the injured person and call 911 if he or she needs immediate medical attention. As soon as possible, inform your homeowner’s insurance provider of a potential claim. Investigate and document the site of the accident, including talking to witnesses and snapping photos.
It is important to take the time to prevent accidents during Halloween and throughout the year. Maintain your property, make sure it is well lit, fix broken steps, shovel snow, and take the proper precautions that an accident does not happen in your home.
If you or your child suffered from a slip and fall, contact a Pittsburgh slip and fall lawyer to discuss your legal options. Schedule a free consultation at AlpernSchubert P.C. by calling 412-765-1888 or contact us online. From our Pittsburgh office, we represent clients throughout Western Pennsylvania, including those in Allegheny County, Lawrence County, Washington County and New Castle, Pennsylvania.