How to Avoid a Premises Liability Lawsuit During the Holidays

The holidays are one of the most magical times of the year. During this festive, high-traffic time, property owners need to remember that they owe their guests and patrons a reasonably safe environment free from hazards. Whether you’re an individual or a property owner/manager, before you get caught up in the hustle and bustle of the holiday season, review these proactive steps provided by the premises liability lawyers at JJ Legal to help you avoid the headache of a potential premises liability lawsuit during the holiday season.

What Is Premises Liability?

Premises liability is an area of the law that allows people injured because of a hazardous condition on a property to hold a careless property owner responsible. Under premises liability law, the injured party can claim compensation for their financial losses. Property owners like homeowners, landlords, and business owners have a duty to keep their premises reasonably safe and free from hazards for guests, customers, and patrons.

When an individual can prove through evidence that a property owner failed to address a safety hazard or should have reasonably known about a safety hazard that caused an injury and financial losses, that property owner may be on the hook for paying that individual’s accident-related expenses.

How to Avoid Premises Liability Lawsuits During the Holidays

You may already feel overwhelmed by everything that the holiday season brings with it, such as shopping, cooking, traveling, and entertaining friends and family. However, there is one thing you cannot overlook this holiday season as a property owner: safety. Thankfully, there are practical steps you can take today to help avoid accidents on your property and shield yourself from potentially devastating premises liability lawsuits.

And if you’re a visitor to someone else’s premises this holiday season, take extra care to be aware of your surroundings. The additional traffic the holidays bring to many properties can disguise potential tripping or slipping hazards that might ordinarily be more exposed.

Clean and Maintain Your Property

How to Avoid a Premises Liability Lawsuit During the Holidays

From fall leaves to the first magical snowfall of the year, the weather over the holidays is constantly changing. Although the holiday season brings beautiful and festive weather events, it can also be dangerous for property owners and their guests. Protect yourself and your guests and patrons by maintaining safe, clean walkways, sidewalks, and driveways.  

  • Sweep and collect dead leaves –Fallen leaves can pose a safety hazard, especially when the leaves are slick with rain or morning dew.
  • Shovel and treat walkways – As a commercial property owner, you must maintain your driveway, sidewalk, and other walkways, keeping them clean and free from snow and ice in the winter months. Check your local regulations and use chemicals or salt approved for melting ice in your area to keep pathways clear. You should also take time to shovel all walkways, keeping them free from snow. If you cannot shovel your property, hire neighborhood children or a professional snow removal service to keep yourself and your guests safe. In some states, like Illinois, homeowners or owners or occupants of residential properties are encouraged, but not required, to remove snow from sidewalks.
  • Let there be light –It gets dark quickly this time of year. Help shine the way to your home or business by using additional light to allow your guests or patrons to see where they are going. Adequate lighting can help people avoid trips, slips, and falls when visiting. If you’re visiting and it’s dark, use your cell phone flashlight to light your way.
  • Repair railings and stairs –If you are a visitor, always report safety issues like broken railings, uneven walkways, and unsafe stairs. As a property owner, be proactive about needed repairs and fit potential problems before they turn into a premises liability nightmare for you and your guests.

Avoid Holiday Decorating Mistakes

The holidays are an excellent time to show your holiday spirit by going all out and decorating your home or business. However, you want to decorate correctly, keeping your space beautiful and safe.

  • Secure your tools – Although it may seem easy to leave your ladder and tools out while taking a break from hanging lights, don’t do it. Someone could fall because they tripped on your tools or the ladder.
  • Avoid common tripping hazards –Avoid leaving cords or wires exposed when decorating for the holidays. These can pose a significant tripping hazard on your property. Always ensure cords, extension cords, and wires are tucked away or otherwise secured.
  • Double and triple-check your decorations –No one wants Santa’s sleigh to hit them on the head when they take in the sights of your beautifully decorated home or office complex. Properly secure all outdoor decorations on your home or business this holiday season to avoid an unfortunate accident.

Contact a Premises Liability Attorney Today

Have you been injured on someone else’s property by something on the property? Are you a property owner at the heart of a premises liability accident claim or lawsuit? The legal team at JJ Legal can help. Call our office today at 312-200-2000 or contact us online for a free consultation to discuss the specifics of your situation.

Related Reading: