Santa Claus, Premises Liability, and You: Having a Safe Holiday Season

December 9, 2020
Santa Claus, Premises Liability, and You: Having a Safe Holiday Season

Believe it or not, the holiday season is upon us already. For many, Christmas is filled with laughter and tradition. As a homeowner, have you ever thought, “what if Santa Claus is injured while delivering gifts in my home?” Fortunately, the attorneys at Graves McLain have you covered. From tidying up rooms to bringing out your decorations, follow the handy tips below to help protect yourself from a personal injury and premises liability lawsuit and being put on the naughty list!

What is Premises Liability?

Premises liability is a legal principle that holds property owners accountable for injuries or damages that occur on their property caused by unsafe conditions. Many personal injury claims are based on negligence, and premises liability cases are no exception. It’s important to note that simply because someone was injured on your property does not mean that you were negligent. In Oklahoma, a property owner’s responsibility regarding “reasonable care” and maintenance is based mostly on the status of those who enter the property in question.

Is Santa an Invitee or Trespasser?

Regardless of the cause or extent of the injury, if Santa was invited to your property, you as the owner are responsible for warning him of possible dangers. On the other hand, you may not be liable if Santa was breaking and entering on Christmas Eve.

Possible Premises Liability Cases on Christmas

There are several types of personal injury claims that are also classified as premises liability claims. Before Santa hires a personal injury attorney at Graves McLain to help settle a premises liability claim against you, follow these steps:

Salt Any Walkways

Property owners should always keep walkways safe, especially during the months where weather conditions can bring snow, sleet, or freezing rain. A business owner may be liable for a fall on “black ice” that occurred on his premises. Suppose the business owner has sufficient notice of the naturally occurring “black ice” and resulting hazard. In that case, a jury may decide that the property owner had a duty to warn the invitee of the hazardous condition since it was not open and obvious.

Clean up Any Decoration Cords

As in almost any personal injury case, a homeowner is liable for a slip and fall accident on their property if they were negligent.

Make Sure Your Pets are Secured

Generally, if a dog owner knows that their dog tends to bite visitors, liability can attach. As a dog owner, you have a legal obligation to prevent your furry companions from injuring people or damaging another’s property.

Water Your Christmas Tree 

While there may not be anything a property owner could do to prevent some fires, others may be the direct result of negligence. Combined with hot decorative lights, fireplaces, and other heat sources, a dry Christmas tree can be dangerous for anyone in your home.

Put Out the Fireplace Before Bedtime

It is essential to make sure all your fires are safely put out before going to bed for the night or leaving your property. If you don’t, not only could this cause a fire, but Santa could potentially burn himself coming down the chimney.

Avoid Leaving Gifts in the Open and Clean Up Any Messes

You don’t want Santa to slip and fall on spilled egg nog or trip over presents! Some premises liability accidents may cause relatively minor injuries. Bruises, cuts, scrapes, and broken bones will not likely cause long-term damage. Still, they can be legitimate grounds for a premises liability case. 

Happy Holidays from Graves McLain!

We think it’s fair to say that if Santa is injured on your property, you’re likely to end up on his “naughty” list. From the attorneys at Graves McLain, we hope you have yourself a happy and safe Christmas.

If you or a loved one has suffered a personal injury that was not your fault, call Graves McLain right away at 918-359-6600 to consult with one of our experienced attorneys for FREE and determine your best options.

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