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Liability concerns that homeowners have on Halloween

While Halloween can be fun for the children, it can raise a lot of safety concerns for homeowners in New York. Inviting trick-or-treaters to one's home brings with it the responsibility to keep them safe. Homeowners should keep their pathways well-lit and provide warnings for slippery steps and other hazards. Slips and falls are all too common on properties.

Thankfully, many homeowners insurance policies will cover slip-and-fall accidents as long as homeowners did not cause them deliberately. Homeowners could nevertheless be guilty of ordinary negligence, which is the failure to do what any reasonable owner would do to maintain a safe environment. Homeowners who turn on their porch light on Halloween night cannot defend themselves by saying they had no intention of inviting trick-or-treaters.

Slip and falls are not the only concern. According to the National Fire Protection Association, nearly 900 fires are caused every year by holiday decorations. Homeowners may want to think twice about putting a real candle in their jack-o-lanterns. If the jack-o-lantern is away from flammable materials, there is little risk.

Homeowners should also know about the health risk posed by expired candies and homemade goodies with peanuts or other products that trick-or-treaters might be allergic to. Lastly, vehicle owners will want to be extra careful if they need to drive on Halloween night as children are more likely to be hit by a car.

Those who are injured on another's property or who have an injured child may see a lawyer about filing a premises liability claim. They will need to show that the defendant was guilty of ordinary negligence. Since it's not always clear what a reasonable owner would do in a given situation, the plaintiff might leave it to their lawyer to have the case investigated and to speak on their behalf at the negotiation table or in court.

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