At Buttafuoco & Associates, we’re thrilled about the upcoming holiday season, but we’re also keenly aware that this time of year can be hectic to say the least, and often downright dangerous. Stressed drivers, icy parking lots, and alcohol-fueled holiday parties can all add to your risk of injury around the holidays.
Our personal injury lawyers serving Northern New Jersey want to keep you safe this season, so in this article, we’ll cover some of the most common holiday accidents and how to prevent them. If you do suffer an accident, don’t hesitate to get in touch to discuss whether or not you have a case.
Holiday Shopping Slip-and-Falls
Though slip-and-falls are common year-round, they can be especially prevalent during the holiday season. Between winter weather and crowded retail outlets, it’s no wonder that there’s an uptick in shopping-related slip-and-falls in December. To stay safe, be cautious and keep an eye out for the following hazards:
- Uncleared or unsalted outdoor walkways
- Wet and slippery indoor walkways, especially near retail entrances
- Cluttered or blocked walkways
With hoards of people visiting retailers during holiday season, business owners may struggle to keep their stores safe and clear of hazards, so be extra careful while you’re out shopping this year.
While it’s the last thing we want to consider when we imagine injuries, holiday decorating presents several unique dangers. In fact, according to the Consumer Product Safety Commission, about 14,800 people were admitted to emergency rooms in 2019 for decorating-related injuries, with the most common décor-related accidents being falls and fires.
Falls make up about half of decoration-related injuries. Good safety measures include using a stable ladder—double check that it’s in good working order—and always working with a partner when you’re decorating. Take your time; rushing to get everything can put you in unsafe positions. Make sure you use ladders properly: never stand on the top step, and have someone stabilize the base of the ladder. Furthermore, to make sure no one trips and falls, do not run extension cords across walkways or under rugs.
The major decoration-related fire-hazards are Christmas trees and holiday lights, and there are a number of things you can do to keep your holiday decorations from catching fire.
For Christmas Trees:
- Give live trees plenty of water. This will keep them from becoming brittle and dry, which can cause a fire hazard.
- Keep your Christmas tree away from candles, fireplaces, or any other open flames. (And always extinguish open flames before going to bed.)
- When choosing an artificial tree, make sure it’s labeled as flame-resistant.
- Use only safety-tested lights that have a “UL” label.
- Make sure any lights outside are weather-resistant.
- Do not overload outlets or extension cords; a good rule-of-thumb is to plug in no more than three sets of lights per outlet.
- Unplug all lights when you leave the house or go to sleep
Cooking is perhaps the most important part of any holiday season; unfortunately, it can lead directly to an increase in accidents in the kitchen. In fact, kitchen fires are the most common cause of residential fires, accounting for roughly 46.6% of cases from 2016 to 2018, and resulting in 230 deaths. Despite these statistics, there are several things you can keep your kitchen safe:
- Keep the stovetop clear of flammable items, such as oven mitts
- Don’t leave the kitchen unattended while cooking
- Keep the floor clear of tripping hazards, such as toys or boxes
- Keep the kitchen from getting too crowded
- In addition, be extra careful to avoid burning yourself while cooking.
Winter Driving Accidents
Previously on the Buttafuoco & Associates blog, we’ve written about the driving hazards related to Thanksgiving travel, and as we move into December, many of those same hazards will only become more prevalent. Winter driving is dangerous enough on its own, but when combined with holiday travel and traffic, December and January can be some of the most hazardous times to drive.
Some common causes of car accidents you’ll want to avoid include:
- Tired driving
- Impaired driving
- Distracted Driving
- Icy and slick driving surfaces
- Driving in poor visibility
When to Contact an Attorney
There are a variety of ways to keep yourself safe during the holiday season, but sometimes accidents happen through no fault of your own. In those cases, you may have reason to work with a Northern New Jersey personal injury attorney. Whether it’s a slip-and-fall during holiday shopping, a winter driving accident, or faulty wiring in your Christmas lights, reach out to Buttafuoco & Associates for a free consultation.
Call us today at 1-800-NOW-HURT.