Amid the hustle and bustle of traveling, cooking meals, shopping, hanging lights and opening new toys, hazards are abundant.
When serious injury results from the negligence of someone else, you may have grounds to be compensated for damages, including medical bills and lost wages.
Our Naples injury attorneys believe it’s important for people to recognize when they may potentially have a claim, and understand their rights in each case.
Let’s start with holiday travel. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reports Christmas Day and New Year’s Eve/Day are especially dangerous. The latter accounts for 41 percent of all roadway fatalities, and the former for 38 percent. Of these crashes, more than 40 percent involved alcohol impairment by one or both drivers. When someone gets behind the wheel after drinking, he or she risks everyone’s lives. It’s considered not only a criminal act, but one of negligence. The at-fault driver’s insurance company should cover the cost of your medical expenses and other losses.
In addition to drunk drivers, there are also many drivers who are hurried and speeding, fatigued after being on long trips, or who may be unfamiliar with the area if they are visiting from out-of-town. All of this contributes to the increased likelihood of a crash. Everyone should exercise extra caution.
In addition to driving, many people are out shopping. While an increasing number of consumers now opt to do at least some of their holiday shopping online, there are still millions who flock to the stores. There are a number of dangers that can occur here. First, there is the risk of a back-over accident, particularly in crowded parking lots where people are rushed. In such cases, injured persons can explore a claim of negligence against the driver, owner of the vehicle and possibly, depending on the circumstances, the entity that controlled the parking lot.
Once approaching or inside the store, there is a risk of slipping and falling or tripping and falling. A slip-and-fall occurs when a slippery foreign substance on the ground causes you to fall. A trip-and-fall occurs when walking surfaces are uneven. Simply falling and suffering injury is not enough to prove a case, though. Plaintiffs have to show the store/company knew or should have known there was a risk of danger to customers and failed to address it in a timely manner.
Also inside the store, customers may risk injury from items falling off the shelves. In cases where store employees stacked products too high or didn’t stack them properly, there could be a strong claim for negligence.
At the home, there are also plenty of injury risks. Hanging holiday lights, for example, is one of the most common dangers. Hundreds of people suffer injuries after falling from ladders while hanging holiday lights. According to the Fort Worth Star-Telegram, roughly 10 percent of ladder-related falls in December are the result of decorating. Of those, 1 in 4 suffer serious injuries such as head and neck injuries and paralysis.
While every case must be analyzed on its merits, there may not be much of a claim for damages unless the injury occurred on someone else’s property (in which case you may be able to file a claim for damages from their homeowner’s insurance), or there was some defect with the ladder (in which case you might be able to pursue a product liability claim).
And speaking of product liability, we must lastly touch on the issue of defective and dangerous toys. A study published recently by the journal Clincal Pediatrics reveals a 40 percent increase in the toy-related injury rate from 1990 to 2011. Just in 2011, a child was injured every 3 minutes from injuries related to a toy, and more than half are under the age of 6. This risk goes up in December, when most U.S. children receive numerous new toys.
Safety advocates urge parents to check with Recalls.gov to ascertain whether certain child products have been recalled, or even whether any safety concerns have arisen. Injuries arising from defective toys can result in a successful product liability lawsuit.
If you have been injured in Naples, contact the Hollander Law Firm at (888) 751-7770 for a free and confidential consultation. There is no fee unless we win.
Holiday Decorating Can Light Up the E.R., Dec. 4, 2014, By Monica S. Nagy, Fort Worth Star-Telegram
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Child Hotel Fall Injury Case Revived on Appeal, Nov. 23, 2014, Naples Injury Lawyer Blog