Most holiday injuries can be chalked up to a moment of carelessness. However, if the incident that injured you was caused by someone else’s negligence, then you may be able to pursue compensation. Examples of negligence during the holidays can include:
- A drunk or drowsy driver causes an accident that injures other drivers or pedestrians
- A texting or distracted driver causes a crash that injures other motorists or pedestrians
- A business fails to salt the stairs leading into their entrance and someone is injured due to a slip and fall accident
- A toy manufacturer makes an unreasonably dangerous or defective toy
Even though the holidays are supposed to be days for taking it easy, November through January is an extremely active period in which many people each year let their guards down and injure themselves or others in accidents.
Here Are Some Accidents That Can Cause Holiday Injuries:
Driving is the most popular way to get from place to place during holiday periods. Unfortunately, it’s the most dangerous. Alcohol-related crashes are more common during the holidays, as are distracted driving accidents. The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism reports that 40% of highway deaths between November and January are alcohol related. Many times people will over imbibe at Christmas parties and family get-togethers. Brad says, “When the party is breaking up, encourage (insist) that anyone who has been drinking take an Uber and have the number of a cab handy. You may even need to be prepared to let your guests spend the night.”
Ice on the roads create another winter hazard that is sometimes unavoidable. The U.S. Department of Transportation says that nearly 5,000 lives are lost and more than 418,000 people are injured each year across the nation in bad weather car accidents. When you must drive on wet or icy roads, the best advice is to slow down and allow more distance between your car and the cars ahead of you. If you must travel by car, here are some tips for defending yourself against drunk, drowsy, or distracted drivers.
- Drive During the Day: After midnight is the most dangerous time to drive. Avoid drunk drivers by stopping for the night at a hotel.
- Get a Car Check-Up: Highway shoulders for emergency pull-offs are extremely dangerous. Before a long trip, get your car checked out by a mechanic.
- Rest Up: Holidays often mean long days with family and friends. Defensive driving is essential when sharing the road with other drivers. Ensure you’re alert by avoiding drowsy driving.
- Buckle Up: “Seat belts are the greatest traffic safety measure you can take. Put yours to use every time you put your key into the ignition,” Brad says.
- Plan Ahead: If there’s a chance you might drink, designate a sober driver or come up with a plan for getting home that doesn’t involve getting behind the wheel.
One of the most common holiday injuries involve ladders. Thousands of people are injured each holiday season by falling off ladders and chairs as they put up decorations. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that nearly 6,000 men and women are injured in fall-related injuries associated with holiday decorating. Falls typically happen from ladders, roofs, furniture, stairs and porches. Brad says, “The older I get; my balance isn’t what it used to be. Even a minor fall can cause long-term damage. It’s important to always have someone else there when you are decorating to help hold the ladder, hand you things or call for medical assistance if you do fall.” People also may trip over or slip on holiday-related objects, such as tree skirts, ornaments, or extension cords. These accidents can be avoided by using ladders properly:
- Make sure the ladder is on a level surface and the areas around it are clear.
- Extend a ladder a few feet beyond the edge of a roof.
- Stay centered between the ladder’s rails.
- Instead of overreaching, get down and move the ladder.
- Make sure ladders are opened completely and locked.
- Have a family member or friend hold the ladder or at least be nearby in case of a fall.
The Consumer Product Safety Commission did a report on fires caused by Christmas trees and candles, and it said that about 100 Christmas tree fires and 1,200 fires caused by lighted candles cause injury, death, and tens of millions of dollars in property damage each holiday season. When decorating a freshly cut tree, make sure it is green and its needles do not fall out easily. Set a tree up away from heat sources, such as HVAC vents, radiators, or fireplaces. Also, don’t forget to check its water level every day. Brad says, “It’s important to check tree lights for broken or cracked sockets, frayed or bare wires, or loose connections. Also…don’t overload a socket with too many plugs.”
Holiday injuries can ruin the fun. By taking steps to stay safe during the holidays, you ensure that you have a memorable holiday for all of the right reasons. We hope you take the time to relax and enjoy your holidays safely.