Halloween is just around the corner. And, as households across the country prepare to welcome hordes of specters, goblins, and ghouls to their doors, some may inadvertently be setting themselves up for disaster.
Even though Halloween is a fun holiday, it doesn’t absolve you of your responsibility to ensure that your property is safe for visitors. Slip and falls, pet dangers, and vehicular issues can all turn something that was supposed to be carefree and lighthearted into a months-long, or even years-long legal ordeal.
While we at Lopez McHugh generally spend our time helping to ensure that corporations and other entities are made to pay for their injustices, today we thought we’d take a few minutes and tell you how you might be able to avoid seeing a plaintiff’s attorney on the other side of a table from you.
Before we begin however, we need to say that nothing here constitutes legal advice. After all – we are still lawyers.
Clean up those leaves!
It’s fall, which means that grassy areas, sidewalks, streets, and other public places are covered in the leaves that once coated our neighborhoods’ trees. The problem is that when they get wet, leaves are just about as slippery as ice. So, make sure that leaves are cleaned up and kept away from areas that might see heavy foot traffic. A slip and fall injury as a result of slippery leaves on your property could be found to be your fault. Let’s keep those spooky skeletons in one piece and avoid the problem altogether.
Make your pets a priority.
Your home isn’t just your home – it’s your pets’ territory as well. The constant flow of new faces and voices could put a strain on your household cats and dogs, making them far more likely to lash out and bite or try to escape. Make sure your pets have a place to go on Halloween night that isolates them from the hustle and bustle of the activity out front, while making them feel safe and secure. At best, a bite means doctor bills (for the victim) and vet bills (for you, as you work to verify that your pet isn’t carrying anything harmful). At worst, it could mean the removal and death of your pet.
At the same time, an escaped pet means hours or days of heartache for you as you search for the animal. But you could also be held responsible for any damage it might cause while it is out of your care. Nip all of this in the bud by understanding that this is a stressful time for your pet and work to care for it as best as you can.
Use nothing but the utmost caution on the roads.
When we’re thinking about costumes, we’re not necessarily thinking about what would make us most visible to oncoming cars. We’re thinking about what would make us scary! And while there are plenty of reflective materials, lights, wands, and other items that can be used to increase a costume’s visibility at night, they’re not always implemented.
Use extreme caution when driving through neighborhoods and be ready to stop at a moment’s notice. There’s never a time for distracted driving but that goes a thousand-fold when costumed trick-or-treaters are roaming the neighborhoods. Put the phone down, keep your eyes on the road, and your foot ready to hit that brake.
These are just a few of the ways you can work to keep Halloween revelers safe and yourself out of trouble. We at Lopez McHugh wish you a happy, and safe, Halloween and a wonderful autumn season!