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Make sure you don't get tricked this Halloween

View profile for Catriona Ralls
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With Halloween approaching, everywhere we turn we see carved pumpkins, severed limbs and cobwebs adorning our shop windows.  Our thoughts are turning to decorations to adorn our porches, and stocking up with sweets for trick or treaters.  However, home owners also need to ensure that their home is safe for those trick or treaters, and that they don’t get faced with a nasty trick themselves in the form of an injury claim.  Catriona Ralls, Personal Injury Solicitor, highlights here the hazards that home owners may not have considered.

“Under the Occupier Liability Act, all home owners and those in control of a property have a duty to make sure their property is as safe as is reasonably practical,” begins Catriona.  “This can be difficult to interpret as there is no set definition of what reasonably practical is, however common sense does dictate this to some extent.  Not all home owners welcome trick or treaters, but those who do and so have decorations outside their home are potentially leaving themselves open to a claim if those visitors happen to injure themselves.”

These are simple things to check that you should be aware of through general maintenance of your home.  “You need to consider whether the outside of your property is sufficiently well-lit so that visitors can identify any potential hazards such as raised paving slabs that people can trip over, or soggy leaves which could cause people to slip and fall.  Most trick or treaters will be children, and while they are likely to have adults with them, the children won’t be looking for hazards, so it’s important home owners keep these to a minimum themselves.” explains Catriona.

“Fireworks are also popular this time of year, and the warnings that come with fireworks must be adhered to, making sure they don’t go off in confined spaces or too close so they cause damage to the face or hearing,” warns Catriona.  “Shop owners need to be vigilant when it comes to selling fireworks to underage customers, as if they are misused they could leave themselves open to a claim.”

Catriona concludes, “It may sound like we’re telling our own horror story about trick or treaters and the consequences of taking part in this highly popular event of the year, but that certainly isn’t the case.  We want to ensure that everyone is safe and that home owners are aware of how to protect themselves and their visitors.”

If you would like some advice about ensuring your home is safe, or if you’ve been injured in someone else’s home, contact Catriona or the Personal Injury Team on 0800 91 92 30, or visit their website


This is for information purposes only and is no substitute for, and should not be interpreted as, legal advice.  All content was correct at the time of publishing and we cannot be held responsible for any changes that may invalidate this article.