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Accident Risks Increase During the Holidays: Your Rights After a Preventable Injury

rain covered windshield

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.

Car Accidents

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 injuries in 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 vehicles accordingly.

Other Accidents

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.