Moffat & Co Solicitors

Moffat & Co Solicitors
Accident Compensation Claim Solicitors Scotland
PO Box 28287
Edinburgh
Scotland
EH9 2WU
Telephone:
0131 662 6988
Fax:
0131 667 8175

MASS Motor Accident Solicitors Society

Moffat & Co Solicitors Over 25 years of experience at your service

Who is Responsible if a Child injures themselves in your Home?

As the legal occupier of a property, whether that is a house, flat or other dwelling, you have a duty of care towards anyone who visits your home. If children are likely to visit your property, however infrequently, you should take special care to ensure that your home is safe for them and take any precautions necessary to prevent them from having an accident. Failure to do so may leave you open to potential legal action for a compensation claim, should a child suffer a mishap in your home in which they are injured or worse.

Your responsibilities towards children in your home

Under the Occupiers Liability (Scotland) Act 1960, the occupier is responsible for the safety of any individual entering their premises (both indoors and outdoors). The act places a common duty of care on you to take any reasonable precautions to ensure that visitors to your home are safe. In the case of rented accommodation, who is responsible as the legal occupier may vary according to the contract, and joint responsibility may be held between the tenant and the landlord.

Scottish law (unlike its English counterpart) does not specifically distinguish that a different degree of care exists towards children than to adult visitors. But the degree to which care and precautions taken may be deemed reasonable will inevitably be different where children are concerned.

This means that when assessing the risks and hazards in your home, you need to be extra-vigilant of the kinds of risks that are likely to be an issue when children are in the home. This might be the case if you have young relatives round to the house, or the children of friends. Under Scottish law, the same duty of care also exists to trespassers, such as children who have entered a private garden to retrieve a football, as well as visitors who are invited onto the property by the owner.

Taking responsibility for the safety of child visitors

There are many things in the home and garden which, while they might be reasonably safe for adults, present a hazard for young children. Children under five are particularly at risk, and in 2010/11, ISD Scotland recorded 1,904 hospital admissions in the under-five age group as a result of accidents in the home.

Examples of risks to children include:

  • Electrical sockets
  • Standing water (bathtubs, swimming pools, ponds, even buckets of water)
  • Kitchen facilities (cookers, stoves etc)
  • Falls (from stairs, trees, ledges, windows etc)
  • Slips
  • Objects such as TVs being pulled over onto the child
  • Accidental ingestion of poisonous/ hazard substances (pills, medicines, berries etc)

If a child suffers an accident in your home, you may be taken to court and pursued for compensation for physical, psychological and financial (treatment costs) as a result.

One of the key things to bear in mind, and which the courts will consider, is that children cannot be expected to fully understand or be aware of dangers in the same way that adults are. It is the duty of the occupier of the home to ensure that the environment is safe for any children that visit, and to take any necessary and reasonable precautions.

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Testimonials

Since contacting Stan I was continously informed of the development and progress of each step of my claim. Stan was persistent and patient throughout the whole process and reassured me he would win me the compensation I deserved - and he was true to his word. I am extremely happy with the outcome of my claim and this is all thanks to Stan.

Sarah

My case was dealt with personally by Stan Moffat and what a brilliant guy. His office contacted me personally by telephone at the start of my claim to explain who they were and what they would be doing for me. All through the case I was kept fully informed of all actions either by e-mail or by letter and reassured by Stan several times of any queries I had.

It is very seldom that a solicitor will take the time to speak personally at any time with you without getting run through secretaries etc. I commend this man for that as this was a very upsetting and important time for me and he did everything in his power to make this as easy and as swift as possible for me.

I highly recommend the service that this firm brings and the speed that they move at.

J McMahon

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