The holidays are a time for joy and cheer, but should you suffer an injury, you may find yourself in need of a personal injury lawyer in Pompano Beach, Florida. Unfortunately, from November through mid-January is considered a high-risk time for injuries. These include car accidents, slips and falls, fires and burns, product defects, and more. Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year’s are among the most dangerous days on the road of the entire year. If you find yourself the victim of a situation requiring legal representation, act quickly to get the best possible outcomes in a court of law.
The Leading Causes of Holiday Injury
Many holiday injuries happen right at home, but there are steps that you can take to keep yourself and your family safe. Some of the most common holiday injuries may surprise you.
The most traveled days of the year fall throughout the holiday season, meaning there are more cars on the road than at any other time. The day before Thanksgiving is commonly regarded as the busiest travel day of the entire year. It’s estimated that more than one-third of all Americans travel for the holidays, and the transportation method of choice is by car.
Add the increased number of drivers on the road to travelers who aren’t familiar with where they’re going, and it’s a recipe for disaster. With parents driving cars packed with kids and luggage, drivers’ views can become obstructed, leading to an increased rate of accidents. More people drive late at night during the holidays, returning from office parties or gatherings with family and friends. Nighttime driving is already considered to be more dangerous than driving during the day. When you add the fact that there are even more travelers during the holiday season, the risk of an accident increases even further. It’s estimated that nearly 40% of all fatal automobile accidents happen at night.
Tips to avoid holiday car accidents include never drinking and driving, being careful not to overpack your car, eliminating distractions while driving, and being overly cautious of other drivers. Slow down, look both ways, and always anticipate what another vehicle might do. Wear your seatbelt even if you’re just going down the street, and make sure your children are secured in their car or booster seats, if applicable.
If you’re injured in a car accident that results in injury, contact a lawyer as soon as possible.
Slips and Falls
Slips and falls are another common holiday injury. Getting up on the roof to hang holiday lights, putting stars on top of the tree, carrying heavy items, and increased foot traffic at shopping centers all lead to higher chances of slips and falls. Tripping on cracked pavement, sidewalks, and stairs in public places is common as is slipping on water or spills in stores and restaurants.
Tips to avoid holiday slips and falls include exercising extreme caution when climbing ladders and carrying heavy items. If you’re using a ladder, make sure that someone is there to hold the ladder and spot you, and never try to carry more than you can handle. Ask someone for help. When out and about, heed the warning of “Caution! Wet Floor!” signs, and check out your surroundings as you’re walking to look out for any potential hazards.
If you are injured in a slip and fall at a public location, you may be entitled to compensation. Most people aren’t aware, but the same is true at private properties. This is known as premises liability, and a lawyer specializing in slip and fall cases in Pompano Beach can help you get the compensation you deserve.
Scalding, Burns, and Fires
The holidays pose an increased risk for scalding, skin burns, and house fires. The leading causes of these events are cooking and Christmas trees/decorations. Thanksgiving is the most dangerous day to cook, followed by Christmas day. The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) states that nearly 20% of holiday home fires are started by cooking equipment.
Holiday decorations pose another considerable risk for injury. Christmas tree fires, decorative lighting malfunctions, and candles are the main culprits. The NFPA states that decorative lighting is the cause of almost half of all Christmas tree fires. This is because people inadvertently place lighting equipment either too close to the tree or plug too many electrical items close together.
Candles and fireworks (often set off on New Year’s Eve) are another cause of fire and holiday injury. To keep your family safe against holiday home fires, be careful not to leave your decorations turned on for extended periods, as this can cause overheating. Make sure that you are not overloading your outlets, and if you notice that a breaker keeps blowing out, take power away from that source. It’s a signal that it’s overloaded.
As always, be careful with open flames and be sure to make sure they’re extinguished before leaving the house or falling asleep. When cooking with deep fryers, crockpots, and other appliances that exert heat, pay close attention to make sure food and surrounding items don’t burn, melt, or catch fire. Keep a fire extinguisher nearby, and make sure that it’s up to date.
Choking Hazards and Product Defects
Choking hazards pose a serious threat to children throughout the holiday season. As friends and loved ones bring gifts, be sure to check the age requirements that are noted on the box. Check for any small pieces that may have broken in transport or that you believe may be unsafe. Each year, millions of toys are recalled due to the number of injuries they are observed to cause in children.
It’s not just toys to look out for, either. Products like baby bottles, pacifiers, and more can also pose a choking hazard to small children. Furthermore, crib products and car seats are often subject to recall, as well. To minimize risk, stay informed on the product recall lists of the current year. If you have a recalled item, be sure to throw it out or return it right away, no matter what.
Product recalls don’t just affect children. Millions of products, ranging from lamps to cooking appliances, power tools, and more, are recalled each year as well. If you or a loved one are injured or suffer a wrongful death due to a product liability issue, reach out to a Pompano Beach attorney right away.
Theft and Assault
While the holidays are supposed to be the happiest time of year, unfortunately, theft and assault crime rates rise during the season, possibly by as much as 30%. People are more likely to be carrying high-value items with them during the holiday season, giving thieves more of an opportunity to get an expensive item when holding someone up. People are also more likely to carry cash this time of year, giving thieves another incentive to attempt robbery.
Sometimes theft comes with assault, something we all hope we never experience. To stay safe, be observant of your surroundings. Don’t walk alone at night into an isolated parking lot or garage, especially if it is not well lit. It’s okay to ask a store employee to accompany you for safety reasons.
Sometimes, people feel more comfortable carrying pepper spray, or keychain “sirens” with them in case they are attacked or feel threatened. A siren or whistle is likely to ward off would-be assailants before an assault or theft can happen, as it draws attention to your location. Another helpful hint is that many cell phones now have discrete emergency notification services in their design. Check with your cellphone manufacturer to see how you can activate 911 services on your phone without an assailant noticing.
Seeking Legal Representation for a Holiday Injury in Pompano Beach, Florida
If you or a loved one fall victim to any injury or crime this holiday season, contact LJW Legal for a free case evaluation. We specialize in a wide variety of practices, including animal attacks, car accidents, personal injury, medical malpractice, product liability cases, slip and fall/premises liability, and wrongful death cases.
We will fight for you in court for the best possible outcome, to get the compensation you deserve.