Happy Holidays! ‘Tis the Season (to familiarize yourself with personal injury law)
With Hanukkah now in the past, Christmas just having ended and New Years straight ahead, we are surely in the thick of the holiday season. Holidays, and the winter season holidays especially, are a time for family, friends and celebration; too often, however, they include chaos and drinking that can lead to really awful situations. As you navigate your way through this season, stay safe and be aware of the relevant personal injury law information, some of which will be explored in this blog.
What do you do when you have relatives for whom you still haven’t bought gifts? You need to get yourself to a shopping mall or store to pick something out! And then what are you to do when you receive a gift from a far-away relative, a gift that you don’t particularly like—or downright hate? After thanking the relative for the gift, you go to return or exchange the gift, of course. Going into a shopping mall or crowded store is always somewhat risky—but doing it during the most hectic shopping season of the year multiplies the danger. Imagine the commotion: hundreds—sometimes thousands—of people running up and down the aisles, chaotically trying to grab something for a relative or frantically searching for something of equal value to the gift you’re exchanging. This is not a fictional creation, this is a situation in which people get hurt all the time, either tripping over something on the floor or banging into a shelf in disarray. Store Owners have a responsibility to maintain a safe shopping environment for their customers. If you get hurt because a store owner failed to meet their duty of care, they are liable. This area of personal injury law is called premises liability.
Just as store owners may be liable when you get hurt while in their store, as a homeowner, you are responsible for the safety of your guests and can be liable if one of your guests gets hurt. Say you’re having a New Year’s Eve party. Everyone is huddled around the television awaiting the drop of the famous New Year ball in Times Square. Someone, after having a couple of glasses of champagne, has to go to the bathroom, and so they run upstairs to go to the bathroom. Upon entering the bathroom, however, they slip on water that has accumulated on the tile floor due to a leak. Because of the fall, they injure their back. While it’s true that you didn’t directly cause your guest to hurt their back, they hurt their back while on your property and because of your negligence (your failing to maintain safe conditions evidenced by the leak on the tile floor of the bathroom). So, while it’s acceptable (and fun!) to have people over for a party, make sure that you maintain safe conditions to protect your guests and protect yourself.
Aside from issues of premises liability, the issue of alcohol consumption is a serious matter in personal injury law—an issue that pops-up with increased frequency during the holiday season. With office parties, neighborhood get-togethers, champagne and eggnog serving as pillars of holiday festivities, it’s no wonder that there is an increased risk of alcohol-influenced accidents during this time of year. Alcohol, in moderation, is enjoyable and even healthy—but in excess, as it is often consumed, it is dangerous, unhealthy and even fatal. When the level of alcohol in your blood increases, so too does the likelihood that you will be involved in an auto accident (or a slip and fall, etc,). These accidents that you make yourself susceptible to could lead to your injury or death—or the injury or death of someone else. Make sure that if you are around alcohol this holiday season, you consume (or serve) it in a responsible manner to minimize the chances that someone might be injured (and that, congruently, someone else, including yourself, might be held liable).
Enjoy your holidays! If you have any questions about any type of personal injury law that might come into play during this holiday season, please contact us for a free consultation at 561-266-9191 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.