Christmas is around the corner, however for many the time for festive cheer turns into a time of disaster with Christmas proving to be more lethal than expected for some.
Whilst standing on baubles or tumbling Christmas trees may be something only associated with Home Alone at Christmas, according to figures from the NHS more than 80,000 people end up with an unwanted visit to A&E, with accidents ranging from exploding fairy lights to serious illness from their turkey dinner.
Last year almost 1,500 people ended up injured due to their tree, either when initially decorating it or throughout the festive period. Estimates show that 1,000 people are injured each year when putting up their Christmas tree, with over stretching to decorate high branches, poorly placed ladders leading to a fall, or trees falling on people proving to be some of the most common reasons for obtaining injuries. Other injuries come from electrical shocks and non-artificial trees or throughout the rest of the holiday season.
Using a ladder to place high decorations on the tree and ensuring that it is well placed or well supported is one way to evade an injury when putting up decorations. Placing the tree in an empty corner of the room, away from pets, should ensure that it does not topple on to any unfortunate passers-by.
From drunk stumbles mid-macarena to a slip or trip on icy roads, the office Christmas party is a hot bed for accidents and injuries. Staff that fall on the work premises, or drink too much of employer provided booze may be able to make a claim against their employer. According to a leaflet published by Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service, employees have a duty of care to make sure staff get home safely from a work night out as well as keeping a watchful eye on free flowing alcohol. From food poisoning to damage from the Christmas cracker, the Christmas party remains a very accident prone and potentially dangerous night out.
According to a spokesperson from ACAS: "Many organisations find themselves in hot water over the Christmas season where seemingly harmless pranks or party ideas result in damage or tribunal claims"
Regarding the potential number of work accident claims Matt Hardman, of the Forum of Private Business, said, "They feel they are given unreasonable responsibility for employees who may have a mishap after over-indulging.
"The smaller the business, the more acutely aware they are of the consequences of being taken to an employment tribunal.
"It is not just a case of if they lose, but they are also less likely to have the resources needed to fight their case. The repercussions could be severe."
A survey by law firm Peninsula revealed that 75% of managers feared a personal injury claim being made against them as a result of the office Christmas party. .
The NHS estimates that on average 350 people visit hospital each year due to injuries when hanging up Christmas lights. Exploding fairy lights, children swallowing and shocks from the lights are all common accidents relating to the Christmas period. A brief look over the wires to ensure there are no rips, tears or other damage to the wires, should mean that the lights are safe to plug in.
People driving home for Christmas or leaving Christmas parties means that roads across Britain can be exceptionally busy this time of year. Bad weather and icy conditions can make the roads very unsafe around the Christmas period. Although it is always better to avoid situations that will potentially lead to accidents, with people wanting to see family and Christmas gatherings, caution on the road is needed to prevent accidents.
It is important that if you are involved in an accident on the road you take down details of the other driver and provide evidence of negligence. Taking your time on the roads, setting off with plenty of time, or adding winter types or chains to your vehicle can help reduce the likelihood of an accident.
Another common injury this time of year comes as a result of the icy weather, with slips, trips and falls often leaving some badly injured over the Christmas period. These sorts of accidents are the most common in public places or events. If you are to make an accident claim it is important to have hard evidence of your injury and where it happened. If there is no witness to back your claim, for example if you slip in a back lane, photographic evidence of the offending item could be used to support your claim. While we wish no one to have an accident this festive period, it is important that if you are to have such misfortune, you have the evidence that enables you to be appropriately compensated and to hold those liable to account.
Try to be aware of your surroundings and take care when walking if conditions are treacherous to prevent accidents. If you are to have the misfortune of having an accident this festive period, make sure you have the evidence and support to back up your claim.
If you have been injured over the Christmas period, contact our specialist lawyers using work accident claims. Our dedicated team will work tirelessly to make sure you are adequately compensated this Christmas period.