Decorating for Halloween is one of the most exciting parts of the holiday. However, obstructions on your property such as wiring from lights or inflatable decorations can pose a serious tripping hazard for those walking on your property.
If you plan on inviting trick-or-treaters or other guests to your home this Halloween, it’s important to keep in mind that you owe these individuals a “duty of care.” If someone becomes injured on your property due to a slip, trip, or fall hazard, you could face liability for damages.
North Carolina Premises Liability Law
Under North Carolina Law, a property owner is responsible for keeping their property safe from dangers that could harm a lawful guest on their property. If a dangerous situation is present and unable to be fixed in a timely manner, the owner must warn the guest of the dangerous condition.
When it comes to premises liability law, homeowners must uphold the same duty of care on Halloween. There is a presumption that individuals have permission to be on a property for trick-or-treating if the property is decorated or if outdoor lights on the property are on. Therefore, if you do not plan on celebrating, turn off all outdoor lights and keep your inside lights dimmed.
Proving Premises Liability
In order for an individual to prove premises liability, the following conditions must be met:
- The owner or person who caused the injury owed you a duty
- The person failed to carry out that duty
- You suffered an injury due to that failure; and
- The injury resulted in damages.
Premises liability claims usually go through the property owner’s insurance company. This is good considering that in the state of North Carolina, the person who is responsible for your injury is not only responsible for your past and current medical expenses, but also for future medical expenses, as well as property damage, lost wages, changes in earning capacity, costs related to essential chores that you cannot currently perform, permanent disability or disfigurement, and even emotional distress.
Tips to Keep Your Property Safe on Halloween
On Halloween, it is important to have fun and to keep everyone safe. Here are some tips to implement before trick-or-treaters arrive to ensure your property is safe and free from hazards:
- Clear your walkway of everything (electrical cords, decorations, etc.)
- Ensure that your walkway is well-lit and visible
- Block off any unsafe areas and place warning signs where needed
- Refrain from lighting candles in jack-o-lantern. Instead, replace them with flashlights or fake candles.
- Keep all pets inside, as they may become scared by a costume or an unknown guest, leading them to become aggressive
Henson Fuerst Can Help
If you or your child has been injured on someone else’s property and you believe that the property owner is liable, you may have a case for premises liability. Since North Carolina has a three-year statute of limitations in which you can bring a case such as this, it is imperative that you contact a qualified Premises Liability attorney as soon as possible.
The experienced North Carolina Personal Injury lawyers at Henson Fuerst can help you to navigate the legal system and get what it is that you deserve. We will fight for what serves you best. To learn more or to schedule a free consultation, call us at 919-781-1107 today!