Personal Injury — stay safe this Christmas
With many people either embarking on a Christmas ski break, jetting off to find winter sun, or staying indoors at their decorated homes, it is important to be reminded of the dangers that can lurk around this festive time.
That certainly does not mean you should avoid having fun, but a little care can go a long way to ensuring you remember this Christmas for the right reasons.
Here we highlight some simple precautions you can take to ensure you and your family stay safe this Christmas;
Ski and snowboard breaks
According to the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (RoSPA), approximately 40 million people every year visit winter resorts worldwide to take part in snowboarding, skiing and various other adrenaline-fuelled sports.
Accidents on these types of trips are common and they can be life-changing.
If you are not experienced on the slopes, it is advised to wear appropriate clothing, book lessons with an expert and be aware of all of the health and safety regulations.
If you’re heading for the sun this Christmas, it is important to be wary of swimming pools and unfamiliar coasts whilst you are away.
Take note of a pool’s depth, where the steps are and tide times if you’re on the coast, to avoid any risk to injury and life.
New dishes and unusual ingredients can give some of us a funny tummy in any case. But if food is not prepared or cooked properly, you could become a victim of food poisoning caused by bacteria, such as E-Coli.
If you prefer to not make your own meals, it is worth asking staff at the hotel for their recommendations on places to eat out, to avoid the worry of eating contaminated food.
Stay safe when decorating
The weeks coming up to Christmas are a time when we go up into the loft to drag boxes down, climb ladders to put up decorations and switch on fairy lights that may be years old. All of this is an accident waiting to happen, unless you take care.
Make sure your loft’s access and footing are both safe — that means not using a rickety stepladder and walking over treacherous joists. Even if your loft is well fitted out, stay safe by avoiding attempting to recover the boxes on your own.
If you intend to climb ladders to put up decorations or reach the top of the Christmas tree, familiarise yourself with ladder safety, ensuring neither you nor anyone below you is hurt. And those fairy lights? Make sure you replace them at least every six years (or ten if they are LED lights) and that there are no bare wires. Only leave them on while you are present and awake, in case of fire.
Take care while you are out and about
The Christmas season can present some dangers while you are out and about, whether you are outdoors or shopping. Winter usually brings treacherous conditions, with wet and sometimes icy surfaces. The risk of either slipping or tripping is considerably higher than at other times.
At the same time, establishments like shopping centres or restaurants are likely to be extremely busy, especially if there are sales on. Crowds can create dangers, while normal safety precautions, such as ensuring floors are dry, might easily be forgotten in the rush.
When you are out during the Christmas season, take precautions such as wearing sensible shoes to reduce the risk of slipping.
Keep your children safe
Christmas is first and foremost a time for children to enjoy. Unfortunately, many children end up in hospital at this time of year due to preventable accidents.
The toys you buy your kids hold many dangers, from parts that are easy to swallow (including button batteries) to poisonous materials and the risk of electrocution. A good deal of the risk can be eliminated by using reputable retailers, rather than going for bargains at pop-up stalls. However, make sure you examine any toys for risks before giving them to your children.
If you regularly have kids in the house, you may already have it child-proofed, but Christmas can be more frenetic and consequently pose extra risks. Make sure no small children are around while you are busy cooking the turkey, and keep easily swallowed decorations out of reach. This is especially important if you hang up the traditional holly and mistletoe. Both bear berries that may look attractive to children but are poisonous.
Stay safe at Christmas parties
The weeks leading up to Christmas are likely to be a time when you go to parties, whether with friends or in connection with your job. These are events to enjoy, but it is still important to take care.
As the night wears on at a party, conditions may deteriorate — spilled drinks creating a wet floor and broken glasses. While you have fun, remember to remain aware of your surroundings and take measures to avoid putting yourself at risk.
Avoid fire risks at Christmas
Ancient fairy lights that come out once a year and naked flames on Christmas candles or tea-lights make Christmas a prime time for house fires. At best, a serious fire in your home could leave you looking for somewhere else to spend Christmas.
Make sure you take extra precautions against fire risks over the Christmas season. Fairy lights should not be left on when you go out or go to bed, and they must be unplugged if you have to water your tree. Naked flames should only be alight when you or another adult is in the room.
Could you claim compensation?
Many injuries at Christmas are simply accidents, and there is no-one to claim compensation from. Some personal injuries in the Christmas season, however, may be someone else’s fault. These might include anything from slipping on a wet floor in a shop or restaurant to a defective toy injuring your child. Some of these may qualify for compensation for Personal Injury.
If you think you or your child has suffered a Personal Injury which may have been due to someone else’s negligence, the important thing is to speak as soon as possible to a specialist Personal Injury solicitor. They will advise you about the likelihood of winning your claim.
You have three years to start your claim for compensation after the negligence becomes clear, and the case can take a year, or even several years, to settle. It can be expensive, so unless the cost of a claim is covered by your insurance, it is recommended to look for a lawyer who works on a no win, no fee basis.
At Osborne Morris & Morgan, we do just that. We also never lose sight of the fact that the most important person in a personal injury case is YOU.
If you have suffered a Personal Injury at Christmas (or any other time), we want to help you.
Please call 01525 378177 or contact us online.