Tonight is the night that you might have lots of little ones visiting your front door to get candy. Halloween is a wonderful time of year. However, what most people do not think about is that when the trick or treaters come onto your property, you could potentially be held liable for any injuries they sustain. If your porch light is on and you welcome the children to the front door, the children are considered invitees. This is a legal term which increases the risk of liability for a homeowner. Because of this relationship, the homeowner owes the candy seekers the level of “reasonable” care that falls under ordinary negligence. Failure to do so can subject the homeowner to legal liability. Examples of this would be injury caused due to the failure to warn of a loose brick or an unstable railing.
There are a few things you should do to protect yourself in preparation for your small guests:
- Make sure there is a clear path from the street to your door. Make sure there is enough space for people to walk.
- Have the area well-lit, especially where steps are involved.
- Don’t have any hazards in the way, such as wires, hoses or other objects that a child could trip over.
Make sure your homeowners or renters policy has enough liability and medical coverage. We recommend having at least $5,000 in Medical Payments Coverage and having at least $300,000 for liability. If someone sues you or there is a monetary judgment against you due to an incident, your homeowners’ insurance policy should cover your costs of an attorney and the amount of any settlement or judgment.
Have fun tonight and stay safe!