Accidents happen throughout the year, but during the holiday season those
risks tend to increase. In fact, statistics reveal the holiday season
often sees an rise in certain types of accidents, from car wrecks, pedestrian
injuries, and slips and falls to injuries caused by defective products and toys.
Because the holidays are a time where accident risks are elevated, making
safety a priority is always important. Unfortunately, our team at Biren
Law Group knows accidents can still happen to even the most vigilant and
safety-focused people – especially when others around them are negligent
or fail to address common risks associated with the holidays. Below, we
discuss some of the most common holiday-related accident risks.
Motor vehicle accidents are a year-round risk, especially in Los Angeles and the Southern California
area. However, risks of preventable accidents can increase during the
winter holidays for several reasons, chief among them being:
Drunk and impaired driving – The holidays are a time for celebration, get-togethers with friends
and family, and vacation time. These factors contribute to what are statistically
higher rates of drunk and drugged driving, which is why local law enforcement
agencies typically ramp up their enforcement efforts during the holiday
season, and why DUI accident and arrest rates spike. Victims who suffer
drunk driving accidents or wrecks caused by a motorist who was under the influence have the right
to seek compensation for their injuries, but insurance carriers representing
at-fault policyholders are aggressive in defending against these claims
and their attempts to pay as little as possible.
Distracted driving – Like driving under the influence,
distracted driving is a risk which is ever-present on our roads. During the holidays however,
motorists do have more reasons to engage in risky distractions behind
the wheel. This may result from increased cell phone use to keep up with
holiday plans, vacationers in unfamiliar areas looking for directions,
or simply looking at the decorations along the road. In whatever form
it takes, driver distraction is a dangerous and negligent act, and it
can result in liability for injuries and damages victims suffer.
Fatigue and traffic – The holidays can and do change our roads. For one, the days surrounding
major holidays commonly see a surge in traffic congestion from families
setting out for their holiday celebrations or vacations, creating greater
risks when it comes to dangerous conduct like unsafe lane changes, driver
distraction, rear-end collisions, and more. Many drivers may also be unfamiliar
with local roads or city landscape, and therefore more likely to make
sudden and risky driving maneuvers. As a result of long road trips, long
days or nights of celebration, and the business of the holiday season,
more motorists are also likely to be driving while fatigued and sleep
deprived, which can be just as dangerous as driving drunk. Be sure to
get prepared before you head out on any long drive, give yourself adequate
rest and time, follow at a safe distance, and always stay vigilant.
Poor weather and roadway conditions – Though the winter in Los Angeles may be a less defined season than
in other states, changes in weather can create hazards on the road. This
of course includes rain, which SoCal motorists so clearly struggle to
drive safely in, as well as hail, fog, reduced visibility, wind, and other
dangerous conditions. During poor weather and roadway conditions, motorists
have an obligation to adjust their driving behavior and operate their
Motorists and vehicle occupants are not the only ones who can face increase
accident risks during the holidays. Pedestrians, consumers, and others
may also find themselves facing greater chances of suffering preventable
harm, especially related to:
Pedestrian and bicycle accidents – Because they have little to protect themselves, pedestrians and
bicyclists face the greatest risks of suffering injuries in traffic accidents. Those
risks can increase during the holidays, especially amid the spike in drunk,
drowsy, and distracted driving. While injured pedestrians and bicyclists
have a right to seek compensation through the personal injury process
following accidents caused by negligent motorists, there may be other
cases where these victims can file claims against other responsible parties,
such as property owners, other pedestrians or cyclists, scooter riders,
and product manufacturers.
Slip and fall accidents – Slip and fall accidents are among the most common types of accidents
during the holidays. This is due largely to increases in consumers visiting
businesses to shop, visitors at private homes and venues attending events,
and poor wet and rainy weather. When slip and fall injuries arise from
the negligence of property owners, such as those who fail to address potential
trip or slip hazards they knew or should have known about, victims may
have the ability to seek financial recoveries through
premises liability claims.
Defective products – The holidays are filled with products, whether they be holiday
decorations, children’s toys, or utensils and gadgets used by hosts
at celebrations. Unfortunately, we place tremendous trust in commercial
manufacturers and distributors when buying products they push out onto
the market and imply are safe to use as intended, and often see that trust
breached. When defectively designed, manufactured, or marketed goods and
products cause preventable harm, consumers have a right to file
product liability claims in an attempt to recover their damages.
Fires and hazardous materials – Risks of fires and burn injuries can be real risks during the
holidays, when more people choose to cozy up by a fire, use space heaters
or other devices for heat, or simply use a lot of electrical products,
lights, and flammable materials. In addition to flammable substances,
some materials used during the holidays, including various decorations
and products, may also pose risks of toxic exposure.
Taking the Right Steps After a Preventable Accident
Biren Law Group is a nationally recognized
personal injury law firm based in Los Angeles. Having served Southern California for decades,
our legal team knows there are patterns in the types of accidents and
injuries we see during the holidays and winter months, which is why we
urge everyone to stay safe this holiday season and make safety a priority.
However, we also know that making safety isn’t always enough to
prevent accidents and injuries – especially when others are negligent.
If you or someone you love has been injured due to the negligence or failures
of another, you can find the immediate support and legal counsel you need
at Biren Law Group. As you begin to explore your rights, we want to share
some important steps to take after a preventable accident:
- Seek medical attention to identify the nature of your injury, rule out
serious medical issues, and obtain the treatment you need.
- If you’re involved in a car accident, be careful of apologizing or
discussing fault. Instead, focus on getting any emergency medical attention
that’s needed, as well as a police officer to come file a police
report. You should also gather as much evidence as possible (contact,
insurance, driver, and witness information, etc.), take pictures of the
scene from as many angles as possible, and collect other documents or
information that may prove helpful to your attorney.
- Follow up with your doctor and their recommended treatment plans. Believing
you can tough it out or that the pain will go away is not a wise decision
for your health or any personal injury claim you may choose to pursue.
- Remember you do not have to speak with insurance companies. As powerful
corporations, they are only looking for ways to pay you less. Have a proven
lawyer handle correspondence and negotiation with insurers on your behalf.
- Don’t be misled into thinking you need to settle a case early on.
You should focus on your medical treatment and recovering from your injuries,
or recovering as much as you can. While you should begin working with
an attorney as soon as possible, your case should progress according to
how you feel, not what the insurance company says or offers in the early
stages when you’re still unsure about the scope of your damages.
Ultimately, one of the best ways to protect your rights and effectively
navigate the personal injury claim process is to work with seasoned legal
representation. Biren Law Group is standing by to help, and offers free,
no-risk consultations to victims and families who want to learn more about
their options and how we can be of assistance.
Contact us to get started.