Avoiding Personal Injuries over the Holidays

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For many Californians, the winter holidays are a time to gather with family, reflect on the year’s accomplishments, and celebrate a new beginning. However, they are also a time of increased stress and accidental injuries—threats that aren’t always taken as seriously as they should be.Personal Injury law with gavel and tips for avoiding personal injury over the holidays in Orange County California

From office holiday parties to school plays to multiple family get-togethers, the sheer business of the holiday season leaves many Orange County residents wanting for time. As a result, festivities aren’t always planned and executed safely, and serious accidents occur.

Luckily, avoiding personal injuries over the holiday season isn’t impossible—it just takes extra vigilance. As a trusted personal injury attorney team in Orange County, we have unique insight into the types of injuries that occur during the holidays, where they happen, and, perhaps most importantly, why they occur.

Keep reading to learn our tips for keeping you and your family safe and healthy this season.

Unsure where to turn after a serious injury? Our compassionate Costa Mesa personal injury attorney team is here to help explore your legal options. Contact us online or call our law firm at (949) 409-0055 today.

Travel Smart: Planning for Traffic and Road Conditions

Car accidents spike during each major holiday in the U.S.—so much so that the National Safety Council (NSC) releases a fatality and injury estimate before each one. Rather than a bleak forecast of what’s to come, these estimates represent deaths and injuries that are preventable and don’t have to occur.

The NSC encourages individual drivers to take responsibility for their role in holiday traffic accidents. If you’re planning to hit the road this holiday season, make sure you’re doing your part to limit accidents in the following ways:

  • Practicing defensive driving
  • Getting plenty of sleep to prevent fatigue
  • Driving attentively to avoid distractions 
  • Designating a sober driver or securing alternate transportation

Remember: The risks associated with holiday travel extend beyond one day. The NSC defines the 2023 Christmas holiday period as beginning at 6:00 p.m. on Friday, December 22, and ending at 11:59 p.m. on Monday, December 25. The upcoming New Year’s Day period begins at 6:00 p.m. on Friday, December 29, 2023, and ends at 11:59 p.m. on Monday, January 1, 2024.

You may also want to research road conditions before departing during holiday periods. The California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) offers helpful travel links that provide real-time traffic updates, highway conditions, lane closures, and more.

Shop Safely: Avoiding Hazardous Environments and Products

Shopping centers, including malls, outlets, and department stores, are particularly crowded leading up to the winter holidays. This influx in shoppers means a greater potential for spilled drinks, wet shoes, debris, litter, knocked-over objects, and other hazardous conditions.

When braving the crowds to do your holiday shopping, it’s important to stay vigilant of your environment. Doing so can help you avoid serious slip and fall injuries, parking lot accidents, and similar dangers. However, not just your physical environment demands extra attention this time of year—it’s also the items you purchase.

When you’re checking off boxes on your shopping list, you must be aware that certain products present hazards to their users—especially children’s toys. The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) offers tips on selecting safe, age-appropriate toys for children and information on the latest toy recalls.

If you select a defective or dangerous toy that injures a child, you must speak to a toy injury attorney to review your legal options.

Secure Your Home: Decorating and Partying Responsibly 

Between string lights, candles, Christmas trees, fireplaces, and New Year’s fireworks, the winter holidays present obvious fire hazards that should be taken seriously. The U.S. Fire Administration offers some valuable tips for avoiding deadly fires this holiday season:

  • Practice safe candle safety. Keep candles at least one foot away from anything that burns, and ensure they are in stable candle holders that can’t be easily knocked down. 
  • Water your Christmas tree daily. If you buy a real Christmas tree, water it daily to slow the drying process, as dried trees are extremely flammable. Make sure it is at least three feet away from any heat source, including heat vents, and dispose of it after the holiday. 
  • Read manufacturer instructions thoroughly. Before decorating your house or tree with light strands, read the manufacturer’s instructions for how many strings can be safely connected. Inspect each strand for frays and broken lights before plugging them in. 
  • Utilize battery-powered lighting. Consider using battery-powered lights and candles whenever possible. 
  • Never leave cooking appliances unattended. When baking or cooking, never leave the oven or stove unattended, and never leave the house, even briefly, while either is on.

Unfortunately, house fires aren’t the only hazard associated with holiday celebrations. Overconsumption of alcohol is a significant contributor to holiday accidents of all kinds and increases your risk of starting a fire, suffering alcohol poisoning, causing a car accident, and more. If you are serving alcohol at your holiday celebration, make sure not to over-serve and encourage visitors to designate a sober driver or contact a rideshare or taxi service if they’ve been drinking.

Take Accidents Seriously 

No matter how carefully you plan, you may still fall victim to a holiday accident. If you are injured in an accident—regardless of the type—caused by someone else, it’s essential to take it seriously. The best way to ensure you don’t suffer unnecessary losses is by contacting a trusted personal injury attorney in Orange County.

A legal expert can review your case and explore your options for compensation, which you may end up needing if you suffer serious injuries. Luckily, reaching out for help is easy: Contact Case Barnett Law online or call us at (949) 409-0055 to speak with a compassionate attorney today.

Case C. Barnett
Costa Mesa Personal Injury Attorney practicing in child injury law, car accident injuries and elder abuse law
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