What Should You Do If Involved In A Holiday Accident?


The holidays are a joyful and family-filled time of year for many -- but unfortunately, all this fun and togetherness can often result in injury. The holiday season (November through December) marks the peak time for traffic accidents, injuries from falls, and home fires. How can you avoid being involved in a holiday accident, and what steps should you take if you are involved in an accident? Read on to learn more about how to protect yourself during the holiday season.

Why are holiday accidents so common?

The holidays mark a "perfect storm" of factors that can put a crimp in even the most well-executed plans. Many parts of the country experience rain, sleet, and snow during the holidays, causing traffic delays and slide-off accidents. In fact, more fatal traffic accidents occur on Thanksgiving Day than on any other day of the year. Because a greater number of people are traveling during these times, what begins as a small accident can set off a chain reaction.

Another side effect of this cold weather is an increase in the number of portable furnaces or space heaters in use across the country. Although the majority of these furnaces cause no problems, if you happen to fall asleep while the heater remains on, or keep your furnace too close to a curtain or pile of papers, you may cause an instant blaze. Carbon monoxide poisonings often increase during the holiday season because of inadequately-vented heating devices.

Finally, the cold and icy weather can lead to a greater number of slip-and-fall accidents with pedestrians trying to cross busy streets or slipping on ice-covered sidewalks. And when you come inside to seek refuge from the cold, you may find yourself in even more danger -- extension cords for holiday decorations or other lights can also pose a tripping hazard.

How can you protect yourself against holiday accidents?

The most effective way to protect yourself and your family is to be aware of your surroundings. Part of this is ensuring that you avoid overindulging in alcohol during gatherings -- the increased consumption of alcohol during Christmas and New Year's is largely responsible for the spike in a variety of accidents during this time. You'll also want to carefully monitor any heating devices to ensure that they are in good working condition and adequately ventilate any carbon monoxide or other harmful gases.

Another mode of protection that is often overlooked is that of liability protection. If you're hosting a gathering at your home, ensure that your guests have safe access to entry by putting down salt or brine to avoid ice buildup. Clearly mark (or cover) all extension cords to avoid tripping hazards. And consider purchasing umbrella insurance to supplement the liability limits of your homeowner's and auto insurance policies.

An umbrella insurance policy protects your personal assets from a lawsuit involving an injury caused by your operation of a vehicle or that occurs on your property. Many of these policies will also pay your legal fees if you are sued. These policies can serve as a sound investment for households that entertain guests or family members.

What should you do if you are involved in a holiday accident?

Whether you've been injured outside your home or are being sued by someone injured in your home (or by your vehicle), you should consult a personal injury attorney before taking any legal action, including accepting a settlement. Insurance companies may try to persuade you to settle for less than you are owed as compensation for your injuries and any pain or suffering. And at the defense table, you should never negotiate directly with the other party, as statements made during this time can later be used to show liability. A personal injury attorney from a firm like Arrington Schelin & Munsey PC can help you navigate the legal system and ensure that you are well protected -- regardless of the side of the aisle your claim lands you.


29 December 2014

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