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negligent homeowner

Negligent homeowners beware: it’s Halloween and you’re getting visitors. North Carolina premises liability law governs whether you will be held liability for injuries sustained on your property. With Halloween just around the corner, you’ll no doubt be getting lots of guests to your property, whether you like it or not. Most of these guests are small children who will be running through the dark of night toward your front door in hopes of scoring lots of candy. But what happens if they trip and fall along the way?

The Basics of Premises Liability Law in NC

Property owners have a duty to keep their property safe. Negligent homeowners will pay the price for failing to do so, as the rules of negligence in personal injury extend not only to retail property owners, but also to homeowners. In some instances there are conditions which are dangerous or potentially dangerous. If the property owner can not remedy those conditions, there is at the very least a duty to warn your visitors and guests of the dangerous conditions, especially if it’s reasonable to expect visitors.

In addition to the potential for a trick-or-treater falling on your property, you should also beware that Halloween is a time where the family dog may not be so fond of visitors dressed in strange costumes. It’s reasonable to expect dog bites and injuries related to dog attacks to increase during Halloween, and the property owner or dog owner can be held liable for the attack, especially if the dog has a documented history of such behavior.

Am I A Negligent Homeowner?

Each claim against a negligent homeowner in a personal injury matter essentially requires that the components of Negligence are satisfied in order for the plaintiff to successfully prove their case. Those elements are:

  • The homeowner owed a duty to the injured party
  • The duty was breached
  • The breach of that duty gave rise to the injury in question
  • There were damages resulting directly from the injury

There are numerous instances where a homeowner may in fact be negligent; however, if there are no damages resulting from that negligence, there is no claim to be pursued by the other party. For example, a homeowner who fails to maintain his walkway may have breached his duty to his guest. If that guest trips and falls because of this failure to maintain the walkway, the guest is well on their way to having a negligence claim against the property owner. However, consider that in some instances the trip and fall victim lands softly in the grass, gets up, wipes the grass stains off of their pants, and realizes they are not injured. In this case, there is no viable claim for recovery under the principle of Negligence, as the fourth prong of Negligence has not been met: there are no damages (other than a bruised ego from falling in front of friends).

How Long Do I Have To File A Lawsuit?

As with most negligence claims, you have three years from the date of the accident to settle the claim or file a lawsuit. This is known as the statute of limitations. This three-year time frame gives the injured party enough time to realize the full extent of their injuries. It also gives the injured party enough time to receive treatment for those injuries and obtain representation (i.e. get a personal injury lawyer) so that they may recover from the negligent homeowner.

Call A Charlotte Personal Injury Lawyer Today

If you or someone you know was injured at a private residence or in a retail location, call us today for a free case evaluation. You can reach us at 704.749.7747. Or, you can click HERE to request a phone call from an attorney. We hope you’ll choose to Recover With Us.

Halloween is a great time to be a kid. The thrill of running house to house for free candy is tough to beat. During trick or treating, you’ll see exhausted parents who would have given up hours ago if their kids would only let them. But alas, the battle wages on into the late evening until porch lights are turned off, and jack-o-lanterns blow out; it’s the national symbol for “It’s over. Go home now, kids.”

As an adult, and as a personal injury lawyer, you see the world a bit differently than children do. As a result, you think of Halloween a bit differently. Every child’s dash out into the street is a potentially life threatening moment. Candy needs to be examined before being consumed. And of course the truly scary stories of Halloweens past fill the news. If you’re an adult, you’re just hoping to survive Halloween. Here are a few tips to for you and your family to make it through the holiday safely.

Stay Visible: Costumes are meant to be scary, but a little bit of reflective material or a light of some sort makes your child visible to vehicles navigating busy streets during trick or treat hours. Wal-Mart, Target and other stores all sell clip-on blinking red lights (check the bike section) which will do the trick.

Stay Together: Kids tend to trick or treat as a group, but they run from house to house like a bunch of goblins on the loose. Remind kids to travel together as a group between houses. They are more likely to be seen by drivers, and you’re less likely to lose a little one in the mayhem. Just the peace of mind that comes with a full head count will make the evening easier on you as an adult.

Stay Sober: The temptation to carry along a little treat for daddy or mommy by way of the bottle is strong on a stressful night. Be responsible and remember you’re in charge of children who are terrorizing the neighborhood streets high on sugar and adrenaline.

Drive SLOWLY: If you have to drive a car on Halloween, the burden is on you to drive with extra caution. If you’re in a neighborhood at dusk, you should expect kids to jump out in front of you at random, crossing the street in search of the next mini Snickers bar. Even if it’s chilly, drive with your window down or cracked, so you’ll hear kids coming.

Charlotte Pedestrian accidents increase dramatically around Halloween, for obvious reasons. It’s a busy night with lots of foot traffic. Give kids a break and use extra caution when you’re on the road.

We hope you and your kids have a Happy Halloween!