It is the most wonderful time of the year – unless preparing for or partaking in it lands you in a hospital emergency room.
From ladder falls to parking lot pedestrian accidents, an experienced Florida personal injury lawyer knows all-too-well how life-altering these occurrences can be.
The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission reported that there were 18,400 reported injuries sustained by those decorating for the holidays in a single recent year. Many of these involved falls, often while hanging lights or other decorations from roofs or trees. Many suffered strains, sprains, and lacerations, but two died.
Further, the CPSC reported roughly 100 Christmas tree fires resulting in 10 deaths, 10 injuries, and $12 million in property loss. There are also 20 injuries caused by swallowing objects and dozens of burn injuries caused while cooking holiday meals.
On the road, injuries can result from drunk driving accidents caused by motorists over-imbibing at holiday parties. There are also pedestrian accidents at shopping centers, crosswalks, and other high foot traffic areas, often precipitated by distracted, rushed, or fatigued drivers.
Your health insurance may fully cover the costs of some of these injuries. However, if you are injuries are fairly serious, and someone’s negligence was at least partly to blame for what happened, you will want to consider talking to a Florida personal injury lawyer.
Staying Safe During the Holidays
With the commonality of injuries sustained during holiday festivities or while preparing for them, the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons created a list of tips to stay safer.
Particular areas of interest include:
- Ladder safety. It is estimated some 566,000 Americans are injured in ladder fall accidents every year. Many of these happen during the holidays. Before you use any ladder, be sure to thoroughly inspect it for possible loose rungs, hinges, or screws. If a ladder is damaged, do not use it! You can suffer serious injuries even if you are not climbing very high. Be sure to place your ladder on level ground, even if you have to move any debris to do it. Have a spotter with you – and do not overreach!
- Travel safety. It is estimated that 84,000 people are treated annually for injuries related to luggage. Pack light if you can. Lift with your leg muscles, rather than with your back. Evenly distribute the weight of book bags and carry duffel bags on your dominant shoulder.
- Walking safety. Most people take walking for granted, but if you are distracted/in a hurry, your chances for an injury are heightened. Walk defensively by being aware of your surroundings, particularly after dark. If you need to text or make a phone call, make sure you do so once you are away from the threat of any motor vehicle traffic and away from the flow of pedestrian traffic. If you are walking with headphones, make sure you can still hear what is happening around you. Avoid jaywalking.
- Tree safety. If you are buying a live Christmas tree, make sure it is green, fresh, and well-watered, reducing the risk of fires. Artificial trees should have a “fire-resistant” label. This does not guarantee the tree will not catch fire, but it will be more resistant to heat. Make sure your smoke alarms are all in good working order. Place your tree away from heat sources, and if decorating it with small children, avoid handing them sharp/breakable decorations or those with small/removable parts on which they might choke.
- Avoid drinking and driving. This is a year-round given. The U.S. National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism reveals 40 percent of traffic-related deaths between Christmas and New Year’s Day involve drunk drivers, which is 12 percent higher than for the rest of the month of December. It increases to 45 percent in the three days surrounding Christmas and 54 percent in the days surrounding the New Year’s holiday.
Our Fort Myers personal injury lawyers wish everyone a safe and happy holiday season – and urge all to remember that the best holiday traditions should start with safety in mind.
If you are injured in Fort Myers, contact a Florida personal injury lawyer at Garvin Injury Law at 800.977.7017 for a free initial consultation.
CPSC and NIST Team Up to Demonstrate Holiday Decorating Hazards, Dec. 6, 2018, CPSC