Take a Look Around
In New Jersey, the owner or occupier of real estate has a duty to maintain their premises in a reasonably safe condition. If that owner or occupier breaches that duty, and somebody gets injured as a result of that breach, liability could attach. Usually it attaches to whoever is in control of the property at the time of the accident and injury. That’s why if you’re expecting trick-or-treaters at your home, or you’re even having a Halloween party, you’ll want to take a careful look around your property for any potentially hazardous conditions. If you find any, you’ll want to either repair, remove or warn of them right away.
Slips and Trips
Slip-and-falls and trip-and-falls aren’t out of the question on Halloween, especially when kids might be running on sidewalks or through yards. If the condition is something that can’t be remedied in time for trick-or-treating, a creepy warning of the danger should draw attention to it. Make sure that handrails and steps are in a safe condition. Fall leaves in front of homes should be removed. They present a slip-and-fall hazard, especially when they’re wet. Don’t forget to put your rake back where it belongs. You don’t want anybody tripping and falling over that.
Aside from porch lights, lighting along a home’s sidewalk can help avoid slips and trips. Lighting can also provide definition as to where trick-or-treaters should or shouldn’t be.
Dogs can easily become excited from doorbells, strange looking people, strange voices and costumes. They should be safely secured in another room away from a home’s front door. Even if a back yard is fenced, dogs should be kept inside during trick-or-treating hours.
Exterior electric cords present both a trip-and-fall and an electrical hazard for those who are coming and going. Keep them away from traveled areas, and don’t overload electrical outlets.
Parties for Adults
New Jersey recognizes social host liability. If alcohol is going to be served at your home during a Halloween party, be aware of the fact that you might be held liable for any damages that an overserved guest causes to a third person in an accident after leaving your home. This rule applies even if your guest is serving himself or herself.
In case of injury:
If somebody does get injured on your property, contact your homeowners or renters insurer right away. If you or a family member are injured over Halloween, seek immediate medical attention. Then, contact our Cherry Hill office as soon as possible to arrange for a free consultation and case evaluation. Be safe, and enjoy the frightening and freaky festivities.