Regardless of your age, Halloween is quite a fun holiday to celebrate. If you happen to be older and enjoy setting up spooky scenery for children who may visit you on Halloween, there are some steps you can take to make sure things remain safe and fun. One of the first steps you can take is double-checking your home’s liability insurance. Your insurance, as well as an experienced personal injury attorney, will be your biggest allies when it comes to litigating personal injury cases.
Whether you like to set up an elaborate haunted house, or just quietly hand out candy, it’s a good idea to make sure you take the right steps to mitigate liability and reduce the risk of injuries to children visiting your property.
Of course, it is expected that most Halloween scenes are dark in order to create that spooky ambience. However, you should still consider adequate lighting, especially for walkways. If you’re opening up your property to allow for pedestrians to enter and get candy at night, it is advisable to establish sufficient lighting, so they do not trip on props, steps, long costumes, or any other potential hazards.
Additionally, it’s also a good idea to use LED lights instead of candles or incandescent bulbs. LEDs pose the lowest risk of fire hazard when it comes to adding ambience and proper lighting to your Halloween scenery.
When you’re setting up your scenery, be mindful of potential trip hazards such as wires, hoses, props, or anything else that may impede or disrupt the flow of traffic on the walkway leading to your house. Under Florida law, premises liability states that a homeowner is responsible for maintaining their property in a reasonable condition free of hazards. Additionally, a failure to perform this maintenance may create liability if an injury results to a visitor from negligent maintenance.
Be sure to conduct proper maintenance on any new props or scenery you’re setting up, especially if you plan on doing something elaborate that may take several days to create. As weather conditions change, props may shift around, and wires may fall into places that you weren’t expecting. After doing maintenance on the days leading up to Halloween, make sure to do one last walkthrough before the first trick-or-treaters come out so you can say that you made sure the property was free of hazards.
Keep Your Dog Inside
Even though you may have confidence in your dog to behave themselves, unusual environments and circumstances can cause unpredictability in most dogs. The uncertainty created by significant changes in an environment can create a lot of fear in an animal, and fear can lead to dog bites as a reaction.
Regardless of how confident you are in your dog, make sure you keep them inside and secured enough that they won’t run out your door in excitement when trick-or-treaters arrive.
Florida is a “strict liability” state when it comes to dog bites. This means that if a visitor is on your property, and there is evidence that your dog bit that visitor, the property owner may be held liable. Strict liability also circumvents any previous knowledge the owner may have had of the dog’s temperament. Additionally, the victim does not have to prove that the property owner was negligent, they must only prove they received a dog bite on the property by a dog.
There have been countless hours spent on messaging around the US regarding the types of candy that get handed out on Halloween. The messages are still relevant in that homeowners should only hand out wrapped candy that has not been tampered with. While it may be endearing and enjoyable to bake cookies or hand out caramel dipped apples, there is simply too much risk of liability you may be creating for yourself.
Make sure to stick with the pre-wrapped candy that is typically available in most grocery stores in October.
Contact Jordan Law
If you’ve encountered a situation arising from a personal injury that occurred on your property, or if you simply have some questions, please don’t hesitate to contact Jordan Law.