Thursday, October 11, 2012



The time for “Trick or Treat” is nearing.  It is a fun time of year, when we hear the knocking of little goblins and princesses.
But, the knock on the door that no one wants is the sheriff, serving you with a civil summons regarding someone being injured on your property.  Since I have handled many premises liability injury claims, I want to make sure you never have to have a child hurt at your home.

These simple steps can help make sure your home is safe and assure your little visitors have a great time.

1.             Lighting:   Proper lighting shows hazards and indicates preferred walkways. It may be spookier to have it darkened, but you are better off with all available lights turned on.  Pay special attention to your side yards that lead to your neighbors’ homes.

2.            Pathways:  Make sure that you have clear pathways to your door. It is important to recognize that kids will not return to the street after every trick or treat.  Instead, they will likely walk to the neighbor’s home through your side yard.

3.            Yards:  Holes in the yard are invisible at night and should be filled in and leveled off.

4.            Steps:   Those older steps have that loose railing are a trap.  Picture a disabled grandmother moving on your property and you night notice hazards that you missed at first.

5.             Cords:  Electrical cords, even orange ones, are hard to see at night. Try not to have them in positions to have to be crossed.

6.            Saplings:   If you have recently put in young tree, the strings that hold it up are known trip hazards.  If they must be used, tie yellow caution tape on each string in multiple locations. This handy tape is available at local hardware and home improvement stores.

7.            Obstacles:    Spider webs, tunnels and so forth are really fun, but dangerous. Avoid anything that would trip a guest. Likewise, any string that hits an adult at neck level is a hazard.

You will probably never have a claim from an injury at your home, but if you do, everything you have done to assure safety will matter.  Have a happy and safe holiday.