The holiday season presents many opportunities for individuals to suffer a personal injury or wrongful death. The Consumer Product Safety Commission estimates that there is an average of 230 injuries every day during the holiday season caused by decorations alone. These injuries include everything from cuts and burns to broken bones and loss of life.
The Dangers of Decoration
Decoration related injuries are the most common types of injuries suffered during the holiday season. In December 2015, there were more than 14,000 injuries treated in hospitals that were caused by decorating accidents. Of these, 41% involved falls from heights, which spike during the holiday season as homeowners, employers, and landscapers seek to hang lights, wreaths, and other bric-a-brac from roofs, windows, and eaves. These are inherently difficult tasks that are made even more dangerous by winter weather conditions that can include snow, freezing rain, ice, wind, etc. These conditions increase the likelihood that an individual will fall from a ladder or slip off the roof.
Candles and Christmas Trees
The Consumer Product Safety Commission estimates that candles cause an estimated 6,500 residential fires each year. The number rises during the holiday season when candles are a common element in the decor. Each year, approximately 80 fatalities and 650 injuries are caused by candles. Burning candles can ignite wrapping paper, dry needles from the tree, and other flammable household objects.
Approximately 1 in 3 Christmas fires involves the Christmas tree as the point of ignition. In addition to the fire risk that claims an average of 10 fatalities and 20 injuries every year, Christmas trees can pose a significant risk of crushing injuries. Trees that are not properly set up can topple over and crush adults and children. Whether the tree is natural or artificial, the sharp tree branches can also cause puncture wounds.
Liability for Personal Injuries, Property Damage, and Wrongful Deaths
An Illinois personal injury lawyer can help individuals pursue compensation for injuries, property damage, and wrongful deaths that occur during the holidays. Product liability claims can be pursued against manufacturers of ladders, defective holiday decorations, etc. that caused the injury. Similarly, companies, landscapers, and others who are responsible for ensuring the safety of individuals in the vicinity of the decorations can be held liable under the doctrine of premises liability for creating unsafe conditions that caused harm.