Soon, kids of various ages will be sporting costumes and knocking on your door, ready to shout “trick or treat!” For the many years that you have had trick or treaters, everything has gone smoothly. However, an injured trick or treater on your property is still a possibility and if this occurs, it is important to know what to do.
If a minor is injured while trick or treating on your property, you may be liable. Call our experienced premises liability attorneys at Staver Accident Injury Lawyers, P.C. right away to learn about your rights and responsibilities after someone suffers an injury on your property.
Schedule a free consultation today at (312) 236-2900.
Illinois Premises Liability Law on Halloween
As a property owner or renter, you are responsible for maintaining a safe environment for guests. This duty is present whether your guests are business patrons, friends, family, or any relationship in between.
More specifically, you owe your guests a duty of reasonable care. Under a duty of reasonable care, you should do your best to make sure the premises are safe. On the night assigned for trick or treating in your neighborhood, you should make sure you have a clear pathway to your door. Your decorations should not be in the way of where kids are intended to walk. If there is a potential hazard that could hurt a child or parent, you should fix the problem, block this hazard off, or put up a warning sign.
When You May be Liable for an Injured Trick or Treater
For an injured trick or treater to succeed in a claim against you, they would need to prove you were negligent and that your negligence led to their injuries. Under premises liability law, to be negligent means to not uphold your duty of reasonable care. There would need to be evidence that you did not warn or protect your guests from a hidden hazard on your property. For example, if there is a large crack in your front walkway that is hard to see in the dark and a child tripped and broke their arm, they may claim you were negligent for not posting a warning sign or making the crack visible.
Limits To Your Liability
There is a limit to your responsibility toward trick or treaters and their chaperones. You do not have to warn visitors about open and obvious hazards. For instance, if you have a mock graveyard in your yard with gravestones, bones, and other décor, these may be considered obvious since they are easily seen and avoided by trick or treaters. So, if a child runs through your yard and trips on a gravestone, you may not be liable.
Avoiding Liability on Halloween
If you want to hand out candy, you should put some thought into what trick or treaters will experience when coming to your home. In the days leading up to the holiday, inspect your property closely. If there is anything that could cause someone to get hurt, figure out how you will fix the problem, warn visitors about it, or make it inaccessible. If you enjoy decorating your yard and home, keep these decorations out of the path. Put these items a little ways into your yard so children would have to go out of their way to encounter them. It is best to not plan any elaborate tricks or scare tactics. Any prank that is intended to scare trick or treaters increases the likelihood of an unintended accident and injury. Another easy way to reduce the risk of an accident and injuries is to make sure the path to your door is well lit. Put in a bright light at your front door and consider adding lights on either side of the pathway.
If a Trick or Treater Gets Hurt, Call Staver Accident Injury Lawyers, P.C. Right Away
If a young trick or treater or a parent is hurt on your property this Halloween, do not panic. Instead, contact our experienced Chicago premises liability lawyers at Staver Accident Injury Lawyers, P.C. by calling (312) 236-2900. In many situations, your homeowners’ insurance will cover a guest’s injuries. However, if a lawsuit is filed against you and you do not have insurance, we can help you address the situation quickly and efficiently.
We are also available to help if you or your loved one is injured on another person’s property while trick or treating. We can guide you through the insurance claims and legal process to pursue the compensation you deserve. Call us today to schedule your free initial consultation.