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Trick or Treat?

Attention trick-or-treaters and Halloween enthusiasts alike: Halloween is a night of fun, but also presents peril. While kids are excitedly anticipating the moment they get to become their favorite Disney princess or Marvel superhero, parents and homeowners more generally should be thinking about the safety of trick-or-treaters. Those who are informed about potential risks and ways to mitigate those stand the best chance of avoiding any unfortunate incidents.

We all know one basic rule of thumb – it is unwise to eat candy or food received from a stranger that is not individually sealed by the manufacturer. But here are some other tips to consider:

  • Plan a route in advance.
  • Wear comfy shoes.
  • Stay well-lit. Glow sticks can help.
  • Make sure all costumes are short to avoid tripping risk.
  • Avoid masks.
  • Use flexible props.
  • Check children’s candy.

Another consideration is carefully choosing the neighborhood or specific homes you and/or your children will approach. The Texas Department of Public Safety logs all registered sex offenders based off of their addresses and provides an interactive map for residents to use to identify the addresses and information of registered sex offenders. The user simply puts in their address, and the interactive directs them to that area and points to the specific homes of registered sex offenders. With potential predators lurking, parents should research their routes that use.

Finally, if you are a homeowner who knows that trick-or-treaters may enter your property, you should also be mindful of potential safety issues. With all the little witches and goblins coming to your door, the trick may be on you if someone gets hurts by your decorations. If you invite trick-or-treaters, or any guests, onto your property this Halloween, you are legally responsible for their safety.

“Premises liability” means that if a visitor is injured on someone’s property, and the property owner is found to be at fault, then the property owner is liable. If you own the home, then you may be held responsible for the accident and the injury if you are found to be at fault. One of the following three conditions must occur for the homeowner to be liable: (1) the owner must have caused or created the dangerous conditions; (2) the owner must have known about the dangerous condition, but failed to fix it; and (3) the owner should have known about the dangerous condition. Homeowners should read their homeowner’s insurance policy and know what is covered, and what is not.

Here are some tips that may help avoid dangerous conditions that could cause such accidents:

  • Keep the yard and walkways leading up to your home well-lit.
  • Look for any trip hazards on your property that you can fix or remove: electrical cords and hoses can be wrapped up or moved; toys can be picked up and put away; in-ground decorations like tombstones can be moved farther away from walkways.
  • Wrap any safety hazards that can’t be fixed in time for Halloween with caution tape and block off the area.
  • Move pumpkins and any potted plants to places where they will not be touched or kicked by visitors.
  • Use battery-powered votive candles in your jack-o-lanterns, rather than real candles, to avoid a potential fire hazard.
  • Be cautious if using fog machines or dry ice. Fog machines can make it hard for visitors to see, and dry ice can burn skin if it’s touched.
  • Leave dogs inside the house. The unknown sights and sounds of Halloween can become overwhelming for dogs, so they may feel threatened and react aggressively.
  • Turn off all outdoor lights if you’re not participating in trick-or-treating, but still keep all walkways clear. Some children may knock on your door even if the lights are turned off.

Trick-or-treating can be dangerous if kids and parents aren’t careful. If you were injured due to a dangerous condition present at a private residence or a “haunted house” amusement attraction, you need an experienced, aggressive Houston personal injury attorney. The attorneys at The Pinkerton Law Firm, PLLC are experienced, aggressive Houston personal injury attorneys.

You can rely on our team at The Pinkerton Law Firm, PLLC, to defend your interests if you have been hurt in a serious accident that caused serious injury or disfigurement. Our firm consists of attorneys with significant combined legal experience. We respect our clients’ time and strive to resolve cases as efficiently as possible. Nevertheless, we are never afraid to take a case to trial if this is in our client’s best interest. Regardless of the size of the corporation you are facing, our attorneys have the experience and the qualifications necessary to stand up for you effectively. We have experience in “David versus Goliath” type cases, and we are prepared to stand up for your rights against an intimidating opponent. Protecting you, as our client, is our first priority.

If you have been injured in an accident as a result of a dangerous condition present at a private residence or a “haunted house” amusement attraction, call a Houston premises injury attorney at The Pinkerton Law Firm, PLLC for a FREE consultation at (713) 360-6722.

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