Los Angeles Law Firm Freeman & Freeman, LLP Releases Recommendations for Keeping Pedestrians Safe this Halloween

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Attorneys Steven Freeman and Stan Freeman have handled countless personal injury cases involving children and adults. In an effort to reduce the number of accidents and injuries that occur on holidays, they have compiled the following advice for safety on Halloween.

Of course motor vehicle operators are responsible for the safety of pedestrians especially when those pedestrians are children. Though drivers should be cautious and may be liable for any injuries they cause, pedestrians can minimize their own risks.

On Halloween, similar injuries seem to happen to children every year. Through increased awareness, the attorneys of Freeman & Freeman, LLP hope to reduce the number of such tragedies. Children suffer burns when flammable costumes get too close to candles; kids running in the streets trip and fall on poorly maintained roads that become even more dangerous as the result of ill-fitting costumes; but pedestrian accidents that lead to catastrophic injuries and wrongful death may be the most serious hazard.

Attorney Steven Freeman says "because children often begin trick-or-treating during dusk and Halloween is on a weekday this year, this is a dangerous combination. Commuters may be returning home after work, visibility may be compromised at dusk and children are flooding the neighborhood streets. Being aware of pedestrians is always important but the need for attentive driving is particularly crucial on Halloween."

Even after dusk, the dangers may increase because, as Stan Freeman says, "inadequate street lighting may be in place and kids may be wearing dark costumes and be even less focused than usual on their own safety. Drivers must be extra cautious in order to avoid a Halloween-night accident."

The attorneys have good reason to encourage caution. On October 23 of 2012, State Farm released a study that compiled data gathered over the last two decades. "Halloween is 'Deadliest Day' of the Year for Child Pedestrian Fatalities" is a grim reminder of the need to prioritize safety. According to the study "Kids have a greater chance of being fatally injured by a car on Halloween than any other day of the year, including the Fourth of July and New Year’s Day." They studied the Fatality Analysis Reporting System's data and found that, between 1990 and 2010 in the United States, there were 150 child pedestrian fatalities on Halloween. This represents 5.5 fatalities on each Halloween for the last two decades. There are an average of 2.6 reported child pedestrian fatalities each other day of the year.

"The State Farm report, and other data, prove that the need for increased caution on October 31 is not just based on anecdote and common sense. There are factual reasons why everyone needs to take safety seriously on Halloween. Though young children who go out with their parents are at risk, drivers must watch out for older kids who are 10, 11 and 12 years old who may be trick-or-treating without adult chaperones," Steven Freeman says.

Stan Freeman adds, "After years of representing families of children injured in pedestrian accidents, we are well-equipped to aggressively pursue justice against liable parties after such a tragedy, but we would much rather prevent the injuries or wrongful deaths from occurring in the first place."

Of course motor vehicle operators are responsible for the safety of pedestrians especially when those pedestrians are children. Though drivers should be cautious and may be liable for any injuries they cause, pedestrians can minimize their own risks.

Based upon their legal experience and their familiarity with the American Auto Club's safety guidelines for Halloween and the American Academy of Pediatrics safety tips for the holiday, Freeman & Freeman, LLP offers the following suggestions for pedestrian safety on Halloween:

  •     Make sure that costumes are brightly colored and have prominent reflective material. If a dark colored costume is going to be worn, be extremely diligent about putting reflective material on it.
  •     If a costume includes a mask, hat, or other headwear, be sure that it does not restrict vision. Children cannot avoid cars if they do not see them coming.
  •     Do not buy costumes that pose a tripping hazard. Costumes that are too large may lead to tripping and a child who is on the ground may be invisible to a driver.
  •     Make sure any swords, staffs, sabers, wands or other accessories are not an impediment to walking. They can create a falling hazard.
  •     Especially for children who may be out on Halloween night without adult supervision, make sure each child has a working flashlight.
  •     Have children stay on the sidewalk, stay in well-lit areas and exercise caution when crossing streets or intersections.
  •     Children should stay in groups to increase their visibility to drivers.

Of course there are other dangers on Halloween that must be acknowledged: candles must be kept away from curtains and placed in an area where they can always be observed and are not at risk of being knocked over. If possible, use a flashlight or glow stick for illumination of jack-o-lanterns and other decor. Also, make sure that a dog-bite incident does not become part of the night's memory; make sure pets are secured so they do not get access to children who may be knocking on doors. These are just a few of the many Halloween hazards for children and adults.

Above all, the attorneys emphasize, children are not responsible for their own safety and must be kept safe by adults. Whether you have children or not, the attorneys say, all adults have a responsibility to protect the most vulnerable members of our communities. And because Halloween has become a holiday that is increasingly popular with adults, this may mean alcohol is involved. Never drink and drive, they warn, but because the risks of a pedestrian accident are so high on Halloween, this reminder is especially important.

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Karen Freeman
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