The holidays are upon us, and for many people, that means it’s time to put up decorations and lights in preparation for the season. However, holiday decorations can present hazards. From candles and string lights to strands of garland and extension cords, many holiday decorations have the potential to cause accidents, including slips and falls.
Below, we’ll discuss some of the dangers of holiday decorations, what you can do if you get injured, and how to protect your family from accidents over the holidays.
Holiday Decorations Can Be Hazardous
While holiday decorations can help everyone get into the spirit of the season, they could also cause serious injuries if not inspected, maintained, and installed properly. Some common holiday decoration hazards include:
- Tripping hazards – including string lights, cords, garland, boxes, and debris – Holiday lights, extension cords, and other clutter can cause individuals to trip and fall if they are not properly secured.
- Electrical hazards – Overwhelming electrical outlets with too many lights or other devices can spark fires. If outdoor lights are not plugged into circuits that feature a ground fault circuit interrupter, they can also present a fire hazard.
- Open flames – Many property owners will light candles or build fires during the holiday season, which can potentially pose a hazard.
Property owners in New York have a duty to prevent others from coming to harm on their premises. If a property owner fails to do this and a person becomes injured due to a holiday decoration hazard on the property, then the owner could be liable for expenses and losses sustained by the victim.
Slip and Fall Accidents During the Holidays
One of the most common types of accidents that occur on residential and commercial properties is slip and falls, and holiday decorations can easily contribute to these accidents.
Slip and fall accidents can happen almost anywhere, including businesses, restaurants, hotels, retail stores, amusement parks, theaters, and residences. Many of these entities put up holiday decorations each year. Unfortunately, property owners are sometimes negligent and fail to ensure that their property is hazard-free.
For example, if an extension cord isn’t properly secured to the floor or ground, it could create a trip hazard. Similarly, clutter along floors and walkways could also create the potential for a slip and fall accident.
Common slip and fall accident injuries include:
- Traumatic brain injuries, ranging from mild concussions to severe and potentially life-altering brain injuries
- Back, neck, and spinal cord injuries
- Sprains and strains
- Broken and fractured bones
- Internal injuries
- Cuts and scrapes
Depending on the severity of your injuries, you could be facing significant medical expenses, and if you can’t work while you recover, your source of income could be cut off. If your injuries resulted from a property owner’s negligence, then they should be responsible for compensating you.
Seeking Compensation for a Slip and Fall Accident
If you were injured in a slip and fall or another kind of accident on someone else’s property over the holidays, you could be entitled to recover compensation. Compensation is designed to help you cover any expenses or damages you incurred due to the accident.
Depending on the circumstances of your case, you might be able to recover compensation for:
- Present and future medical expenses related to your injuries
- Lost earnings if you are unable to return to work while you recover from your injuries
- Lost earning capacity if you are become temporarily or permanently disabled and aren’t able to perform the full scope of your job duties
- Personal property damage
- Pain and suffering, including mental trauma, emotional distress, and physical pain
An attorney can help you estimate your financial damages based on your medical expenses and other costs you incurred after the accident. Quantifying non-financial damages like pain and suffering can be particularly challenging, so it’s a good idea to consult with an attorney from the outset.
Tips to Prevent Holiday Decoration Accidents
Accidents can also occur in your own home. Most families start putting decorations up well in advance of the major holidays. And while this can be a fun and enjoyable ritual, it can also be dangerous. Consider following these tips to prevent accidents during the holiday season:
- Climb carefully – Exercise caution when you are climbing ladders for the purpose of putting up holiday lights and decorations. Before using a ladder, be sure to inspect it for safety first. If you plan to string lights on your roof, the ladder should extend at least three feet beyond the roof’s edge.
- Be careful around electricity – Electrical outlets can get overloaded, especially if you’re plugging in extension cords and power strips. Try not to overwhelm your outlets by plugging in too many decorations or devices to one outlet.
- Properly secure string lights and other trip hazards – You should tape down or otherwise secure electrical cords to the ground so that they don’t create a trip hazard. This includes outdoor spaces, too. If you have extension cords running through your yard, you should use ground staples to secure them.
- Don’t leave clutter lying around – Cluttered floors are a common cause of slip and fall accidents. Gift-giving is always exciting, but it can create a lot of debris. Try to ensure that all walkways are free from clutter.
The holidays should be a time for family and friends to come together and enjoy one another’s company. By properly securing your holiday decorations, lights, cords, and other paraphernalia, you can ensure that your holiday is accident-free.
Contact Finz & Finz, P.C. This Holiday Season
If you were injured in a slip and fall accident caused by a negligent property owner, contact the New York personal injury attorneys at Finz & Finz, P.C. in Long Island to discuss your case. Our lawyers have the knowledge and resources to investigate the cause of the accident, gather evidence to support your claim, calculate damages you incurred, and pursue the compensation you need and deserve.
Reach out today for a free, no-risk consultation.