If you are trick-or-treating with your child, and your neighbor has their lights on and is handing out candy, they are essentially inviting you onto their property. Under California law, you and your child would be considered “invitees” or visitors, and homeowners have a legal duty to keep their property reasonably safe for visitors. Therefore, if you or your child are hurt while on their property, they could be liable for injuries and damages.
What Is Premises Liability?
In broad terms, premises liability is the legal concept that holds property owners and operators accountable for injuries or damages that occur on their property. Common premises liability claims cover cases of slip and falls, dog bites, and injuries that occur from inadequate maintenance of a property. All three of these scenarios could cause an accident on Halloween.
As a parent, you can’t control how other people maintain their property. Leave your fear for the spooky decorations and scary costumes, not for an injury. However, it is important to stay aware of your surroundings and have fun.
What Can I Do if My Child Has Been Injured on Someone Else’s Property?
If your child is injured on someone else’s property, you may have options. Specifically, you may have the right to take legal action to recover compensation. Granted, it does not guarantee a viable case for a premises liability claim. The property owner has to be proven negligent. This involves proving that the homeowner knew or should have known that their property was unsafe, but still allowed visitors to come into contact with danger without reasonably trying to remedy the situation.
Time is critical. Evidence needs to be gathered before the homeowner remedies or disposes of the hazard site. You don’t have to deal with this alone. Contacting a premises liability lawyer as soon as possible is recommended. At Needham Kepner & Fish LLP, our premises liability lawyers move quickly to gather evidence, examine the accident site, interview witnesses and consult with experts.