Common Holiday Injuries

The Holidays are here, and even if you’re not into the celebrations, they’re hard to ignore. With all the twinkling lights and merry-making, however, comes an increased risk of accident-related injuries. If you or someone you care about has suffered an injury by someone else’s negligence, it’s time to consult with an experienced California personal injury attorney.

There Are a Lot of Delivery Trucks Out There

We’ve all taken to doing most of our holiday shopping online, which translates to a lot more delivery trucks on our roadways – from highways and interstates to residential streets. More delivery trucks mean more delivery truck accidents, which can be especially dangerous and include the following risk factors:

  • Delivery drivers are under the gun to deliver more packages faster, which can contribute to accidents.
  • Delivery drivers make frequent stops and have to enter and exit traffic often, which increases the chances that accidents will happen.
  • Delivery drivers have to locate their destinations, hop out of and back in their trucks and get back on the road as quickly as possible, which can lead to erratic driving.
  • Delivery drivers are often pushed to driving extremes, which can lead to drowsy driving.

There Is More Traffic Generally

It’s the holidays, and we all have somewhere to be – stat! With increased traffic and winter weather, accident rates rise. When you couple this fact with everyone being in a rush and more likely to be distracted – by their to-do lists and beyond – it sets the stage for dangerous traffic accidents.

Perilous Parking

With all the talk about increased traffic, it’s important not to forget about the perils of parking. To begin, everyone – literally everyone – has more shopping to do around the holidays, and they are all looking for a parking spot. Parking lots tend to be something of a free for all in the best of times, but around the holidays, they can become downright cutthroat. When you’re in a parking lot, proceeding with caution is always well advised for all the following reasons:

  • Many otherwise reasonable drivers become seriously aggressive in parking lots. Too many motorists forget that the rules of the road also apply when they’re driving in parking lots.
  • It is not unusual for a motorist to zip across parking lots traveling perpendicular to the actual driving lanes – or angling across the lanes – which makes expecting the unexpected paramount.
  • The holidays leave everyone bustling, and in all the hubbub, there are a lot more opportunities for children to get the jump on their parents and dash into parking lots alone, leaving them especially vulnerable.
  • If you aren’t sure that the other driver in the parking lot sees you and acknowledges that you have the right-of-way, err on the side of caution.
  • Be especially careful when backing out of parking spaces because the drivers behind you are unlikely to take the same precautions.

The old saying that it’s a jungle out there might as well have been referring to parking lots during the holiday season.

Raise a Glass of Cheer

The holidays and alcohol seem to pair well, which means that the number of impaired drivers on our roadways increases significantly throughout the season. Whether it’s an office party, a cookie swap, a holiday dinner with the family, a New Year’s Eve celebration, or anything else on the long list of festivities, drinks are likely to flow, and drunk driving is a serious concern.

Consider a Critical Projection for This Year’s Holiday Season

The National Safety Council (NSC) reports that, in 2022, we can lose up to 345 people on roads throughout the nation over the Christmas day holiday, which this year extends from Friday after work through Monday – the day after Christmas. Some of the prime reasons for the spike in traffic fatalities over this three-day period are that many, many people will be traveling to spend the weekend with family and friends and the fact that the number of drunk drivers is likely to spike.

Stay Safe Out There, Friends

The Electrical Safety Foundation International (ESFI) weighs in with its thoughts on staying safe out there this holiday season.

Keeping the Home Fires Burning

The holidays often inspire people to decorate profusely, which often means lighting candles. A full 30 percent of home fires and 38 percent of home fire fatalities happen in December, January, and February. The underlying cause includes the fact that all the following increase throughout the holidays:

  • cooking
  • open flames
  • heating

To make the matter that much more difficult, fires associated with the winter holidays are more severe across all loss measures. For example, fires associated with Christmas trees and other kinds of holiday decorations are considerably more dangerous than most other types of fire – causing five times the number of fatalities per fire and twice the number of injuries. Consider the following statistics for a recent span of five years:

  • There was an average of 260 Christmas tree fires each year.
  • There were – on average – another 150 fires associated with holiday lights and decorations each year.
  • 45 percent of home decoration fires were caused by candles.

Falls and Decking the Halls

People take their holiday decorations seriously. If you’re one of the many Americans who set aside time each year to watch National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation, you have a good feel for the magnitude of this mania. Unfortunately, falls must be factored into the equation. Every year, about 5,800 people suffer an injury in falls related to decorating their homes for the holidays. Another 4,000 require emergency care in relation to accidents caused by extension cords, which include injuries such as contusions, sprains, broken bones, and cuts – caused by tripping over the cords and falling.

Decorations, but Make It Safe

The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission offers these tips for enjoying your holiday decorations safely:

  • If you have a live Christmas tree, make sure that it has plenty of water throughout the season.
  • If you’re in the market for an artificial Christmas tree, look for a label that marks it as fire-resistant.
  • If you burn candles, keep them within your clear sight, isolate them away from flammable items, and extinguish them before you leave the room.
  • Never string more than three sets of decorative lights together.
  • Don’t let your excitement about having the prettiest lights on the block tempt you to overload your electrical outlets.

Holiday Shopping

It is also important to consider shopping in and of itself. The holiday season can make or break a business, and they generally see their heaviest customer traffic from Thanksgiving to New Year’s. With all this foot traffic, the risk of slip-and-fall accidents and other kinds of premises liability accidents increases significantly. Store owners are focused on making hay while the sun shines, and in the process, safety can take a back seat.

Slip-and-Fall Accidents

It does not take much to cause someone to slip and fall. For example, simply allowing moisture and debris from outside to accumulate in a store’s entrance can lead to dangerously slippery conditions that invite slip-and-fall accidents. Consider all of the following additional risk factors:

  • During the holidays, stores like to bust out the decorations and displays, which can jut into walkways and increase the chances that customers will slip or trip and fall.
  • Winter weather can create slippery walking conditions both outside and in.
  • Inadequate lighting, including on staircases, is another kind of slipping hazard.
  • Poorly maintained or overly slippery flooring can also contribute to slip-and-fall accidents.

Elevator and Escalator Accidents

Elevators and escalators see a lot of action during the holiday season, and when they aren’t properly maintained, it can lead to serious accidents that cause serious injuries. Consider the following scenarios:

  • Escalators that are calibrated to move too quickly greatly increase the chances that accidents will happen.
  • Escalators that are overly crowded put everyone on them at risk.
  • Elevators that don’t stop flush with the ground are a tripping hazard.
  • Elevators that jerk into motion and jolt to stops can cause injuries.

The Store’s Responsibility

Store owners and managers owe their customers a considerable responsibility that extends to employing the same degree of care that other reasonable store owners do in similar situations. For example, if shoppers track moisture into a store’s entrance that causes someone to slip, fall, and be injured, the store may be held liable if other reasonable store owners will have addressed the slipping hazard more promptly, more effectively, or both.

Life Is Full of Risk, and the Holidays Amplify Them

There is no denying that life is full of risk, but it is important to keep in mind that things become riskier still around the holidays. When you drive, there’s more traffic to contend with, there’s a greater risk of sharing the road with impaired drivers, and there are delivery trucks everywhere, not to mention the fact that the parking lots court mayhem. The holidays also turn up the heat in terms of home fires, falls related to decorating, and even painful emotional upheaval. Finally, shopping is no picnic. Have yourself a happy little holiday season, but don’t let your safety get lost in the shuffle.

An Experienced California Personal Injury Attorney Can Help

The compassionate car accident attorneys at Blair & Ramirez LLP in Los Angeles wish you the happiest of holidays. If you or someone you care about suffers an injury by someone else’s negligence this holiday season, please don’t hesitate to reach out and try our free case evaluator or contact us for more information today.