Even in the best of years, the holiday season is a stressful time. Between the kids being home from school, financial pressures piling up, and extended family pouring in from out of town, there’s not much time for relaxation. Now, imagine adding a serious injury to that mix; suddenly you’re in Clark-Griswold-from-Christmas–Vacation territory. While it’s easy to laugh at Clark’s troubles on the big screen, holiday injuries are a reality that Ontario personal injury lawyers confront year after year.
Unsurprisingly, the most common accidents related to the holiday season are car crashes. The combination of worsening winter weather, more vehicles on the road, plenty of distractions, and alcohol-fueled holiday parties make December a dangerous month for driving. If you’re spending time on the road this holiday season, be especially cautious and avoid all alcohol, if possible.
Once you’ve navigated the treacherous holiday traffic, you’ll face more injury risks at home. According to Quartz, the United States’ Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) estimates that roughly 1,700 Christmas-related injuries occurred between 2011 and 2015. In 2014, Metro News reported that 40 critical injuries and two deaths related to Christmas decorating had occurred over the previous ten years in Calgary alone.
The CPSC dataset included brief descriptions of the events causing the injuries, shedding light on the risks Christmas decorators face. For example: “33-year-old male standing on a stool hanging Christmas light when fell backwards striking head onto a TV stand,” or “44-year-old female was trying to throw out a Christmas tree, was unable to get the tree into the bin, [causing] her to fall.”
Ontario personal injury lawyers understand that serious injuries can result from these types of seemingly harmless scenarios. For example, Will Davidson LLP client Howard Milthrope suffered a serious head injury after tripping over a Christmas light cord.
“I went to see Howard to make sure they didn’t need anything, and Pat [Howard’s wife] and I started chatting and she told me about how the accident occurred,” said Will Davidson LLP Law Clerk Coleen Skynner. “I mentioned to her that [Will Davidson LLP Managing Partner Gary Will] might be able to help them in making sure that Howard had all the services that he needed once he was released from hospital.”
You can learn a little bit more about Pat and Howard’s case through their testimonial, available here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wgu3Xp0XC04.
Speaking to the National Post, University of Calgary surgery professor Dr. Chad Ball cautioned that certain demographics – “slightly older, Caucasian men” – are particularly susceptible to these types of injuries. The solution? Ask for help when decorating your home. Enlist someone to hold your ladder and check for broken ornaments. If you have a bad back or feel unsteady on your feet, swallow your pride and ask someone younger to do the work.
Slip and fall accidents are also quite common during the holidays, for many of the same reasons that car crashes increase: bad weather, alcohol, and the presence of people who are unaccustomed to navigating slippery sidewalks. If you’re expecting guests this holiday season, ensure your driveway and walkway is clear of snow and well-salted.
Finally, children often suffer injuries over the holiday, often due to lack of supervision. Christmas trees and Christmas ornaments can be dangerous to kids, as can wrapping paper and new toys. Keeping an eye on children who are intoxicated by time off school, sugary treats, and the promise of presents isn’t always easy, but it will keep them safe.
If you or a member of your family suffers an injury this holiday season, contact the experienced Ontario personal injury lawyers at Will Davidson LLP. Our team can help you access compensation for you injuries and can guide you on your path to recovery.