With the approach of fall, both children and adults are starting to count down the days until Halloween arrives. As parents, we are concerned for our own child’s safety on Halloween night. In fact, the National Safety Council reports that children are twice as likely to be hit by a car on Halloween night. However, Halloween dangers extend beyond the risks of children walking in the streets as they travel to neighboring homes. In fact, many of us may not have considered that our own property can pose potential hazards for trick-or-treaters.
New Jersey Premises Liability Law
In New Jersey, property owners have a responsibility to keep their property safe for all those who are visiting. If a property owner neglects this duty, they may be responsible for any injury sustained by a trick-or-treater or other visitors. Those planning on having trick-or-treaters at their home this October should inspect their yards and walkways for potential hazards and plan to repair or remove them before Halloween arrives. When doing so, make sure to consider the following:
- Rake leaves to avoid a slip and fall
- Check for broken steps and cracked walkways
- Inspect handrails on outdoor stair cases
- Place all Halloween decorations out of walking paths
- Consider additional lighting for added visibility on walkways, driveways, and porch steps
New Jersey Comparative Negligence
For those that sustain injuries on another person’s property, it is important to keep in mind that New Jersey is a comparative negligence state. This means that an injured person’s compensation could be reduced if they shared some responsibility for their own injury. Depending on the circumstances, one of the following can occur:
- The court rules that the property owner should have removed or repaired the hazard and will be ordered to pay for all the injured party’s medical bills and recovery costs.
- The court determines that the injured visitor was less than 50 percent responsible for their injury and any damage awards will be reduced by that shared-fault percentage.
- The injured party was more than 50 percent responsible for their own injury and will be barred from recovering damages.
For example, if a trick-or-treater slips and falls on wet leaves on another’s property on Halloween, but the child was running, and the leaves were neatly piled next to the walkway, it may be determined that although the homeowner should have stored the leaves away from the walkway, the child was acting carelessly and is 40 percent responsible for the accident. The homeowner will be 60 percent responsible for all expenses associated with the injury.
On the other hand, if the walkway was poorly lit, and wet leaves filled the path, a slip and fall injury may be deemed 100 percent the homeowner’s fault. The property owner will be responsible for all the medical expenses of the injured person.
Cherry Hill Slip and Fall Lawyers at DiTomaso Law Offer Expertise in Premises Liability Claims
If your child is injured on Halloween or you have been injured on another person’s property, call an experienced Cherry Hill slip and fall lawyer at DiTomaso Law. New Jersey premises liability law can be complex. Make sure you know your rights to obtain the compensation you deserve by calling us today at 856-414-0010 today or contact us online to schedule a free consultation. With locations in Philadelphia and Cherry Hill, New Jersey, we proudly serve clients from the surrounding areas.