This festive time of year is filled with sparkling lights, glittering tree baubles and the sweet smell of gingerbread and home-made hot chocolate. Along with this comes the mounting pressures to make final purchases and preparations, all with the hope of hosting the perfect Christmas. The seasonal stress, combined with winter weather and excess alcohol, creates extra risk, with more than 80,000 people a year needing hospital treatment for injuries such as falls, cuts and burns during the festive period according to NHS Statistics.
Whether you have filled your home with classic holly and ivy, or all-embracing tinsel and glitz, or you are rushing to buy last-minute goodies, there are a number of hazards to consider including:
With freezing cold temperatures, ice and snow poses the greatest risks to both drivers and pedestrians in the festive months. In December, road traffic accidents and pedestrian falls are approximately 25% higher compared to any other month of the year. There is also a spike in the number of drivers involved in collisions, where braking distances have not been adhered to or drivers have lost control of their vehicles in harsh weather conditions.
For drivers, a simple low speed, minor impact collision can cause a significant injury. The same can be said for pedestrians involved in a simple, slip, trip or fall. Injuries vary from minor sprains through to, in more serious cases, broken bones, deep wounds and head trauma.
When we are travelling on a public road or pedestrian area, often a private individual, company or public authority are legally responsible to maintain the road and ensure our safety. This ‘duty of care’ requires that particular standards are observed and all necessary precautions and procedures are taken. For example, any cracks or holes in the pavement must be repaired and any slippery surfaces caused by frost and ice must be gritted within a reasonable time.
Children will be extra excitable at this time of year, and it is easy to lose track of them.
For the traditionalists that hang ivy and mistletoe, care must be taken, as these are both poisonous plants. With a dose of 20 holly berries being potentially fatal to a child, they pose the most danger, and should be kept out of reach of children and pets.
Millions of us ‘deck the halls’ by decorating our tree with baubles, ranging in shapes and sizes. One of the most common accidents over yuletide is the ‘falling decoration’. With small novelties from crackers posing as a choking hazard to large festive decorations potentially falling from a height, injury to young people can be caused from near and far. These decorations do not have to comply with strict rules, unlike those governing the sale of toys for use by children.
To comply with these rules, each year Santa ensures that he delivers the correct present to each child on Christmas day. If you are purchasing a toy for a child, you should do the same, by checking the guidance on the packaging to make sure it is age-appropriate.
It would not be Christmas without fairy lights or festive candles. There are many streets lit up like ‘Blackpool Illuminations’ during the festivities, but precautions must be taken to avoid homes being lit on fire. This includes:
Food and Drink indulgence is perhaps the most unsurprising trigger for a Christmas catastrophe.
The last thing you want to do at Christmas is give yourself or your guests food poisoning – all too easy to do with a poorly defrosted or undercooked turkey. Care must also be given when sampling different foods and tastes that your palette is not used to. Some allergic reactions can be very serious whether you have been exposed to something new to eat, drink or even wear.
Alongside the turkey and trimmings, alcohol is also in abundance. With over 600 million units or 265 million pints of pure alcohol being consumed by Brits each December, it is not surprising that it is the biggest cause of accident and emergency admissions in hospitals at this time of year. Ensure you monitor your alcohol consumption – it is easy to lose count of how many drinks you have had if you are at home or visiting family.
Whilst care and attention can be taken to avoid these festive hazards, some personal injuries in the Christmas season, are caused by the negligence of others.
If you think you or your child have been injured as a result of someone’s negligence, then you may be entitled to make a claim for personal injury. You can raise a claim if the accident occurred in the last 3 years, was partially the fault of someone else, and resulted in you suffering an injury. Your claim for compensation can include: the pain suffered from the injury; past and future loss of wages as a result of the injury; medical treatment or care provided for the injury; damage to property; and general inconvenience.
Jones Whyte Law have helped many clients recover compensation for different types of personal injury claims. Our team of experienced personal injury solicitors can help you make a successful claim, all on abasis.
To find out more information about personal injury in Scotland, and start your claim, contact us today on or give us a call on 0141 375 1222.
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