Slip and fall accidents are common in many circumstances, but they can occur more frequently during the holidays when people are celebrating the revelry of the season. Every festive season, thousands of Americans across the country are injured because of a slip and fall accident, which can either be caused by carelessness or because of a potential hazard.
Do Slip And Falls Occur More Frequently During The Holiday Season?
The holiday season tends to get busy because of a multitude of activities like celebrations, shopping and decorating. However, many of the festive revelries bring an increased level of slip and fall risks, which can cause major injuries in people. Here are some common reasons why people slip and fall during the holiday season:
- The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention claims that falling from ladders is a common reason for slip and fall accidents during the holidays because people often use them to decorate their homes.
- Slipping and tripping over ornaments and decorations is also common during the festive season, which is why people need to be extra cautious during these times.
- Shopping can prove to be a dangerous slip and fall hazard as people carry stacks of gifts, packages, and shopping bags that can obstruct their view and balance.
- People also tend to leave things to the last minute when it comes to the festive season, which can result in increased carelessness.
- Stores have more items stocked during the holiday season owing to an increase in demand, but sometimes these items may protrude into walking paths, which can cause unnecessary slip and fall accidents.
- The festive season occurs in winter, which is the time when people often encounter factors like snow, ice, and sleet- resulting in possible slips and falls.
Slip and fall injuries typically occur throughout the year, but some studies undertaken by the CDC examined injuries related to the holidays. The CDC analyzed data from The National Electronic Injury Surveillance System-All Injury Program (NEISS-AIP) for a period of three holiday seasons and it was found that nearly 17,465 people were treated for decorating-related falls. Forty-three percent of these injuries occurred because of ladder falls, with men nearly 40 percent more likely to be injured than women.
What Are Slip And Fall Injuries?
Slip and fall injuries are classified as accidents that occur when a person falls on someone else’s property or premises — either through a failure to maintain the property or because the person wasn’t careful while walking. If negligence of property maintenance can be proven, then the property owner may be held responsible in the court of law, since the cause will fall under “premises liability” claims. Here are some facts to help you understand more about slip and fall accidents that occur in the US every year:
- One out of five falls can cause a serious injury to a person’s head or may result in broken bones.
- Every year, over 800,000 patients are hospitalized because of a fall, resulting in a hip fracture or head injury.
- Falls are the most common triggers of traumatic brain injuries.
- According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics from 2002, nearly 22 percent of slip and fall incidents resulted in workers missing over 31 days from work.
- Floors and floor materials directly result in slip and fall injuries in people.
- Falls result in nearly 8 million visits to the emergency room, which is nearly 21.3 percent of all visits.
- Slip and falls result in over 1 million visits, representing 12 percent of the total number.
Under What Circumstances Do Slip And Fall Accidents Occur?
Slip and fall accidents typically occur because of slippery ice or wet surfaces, but hazards or debris can also result in people tripping over. The holidays are spread over the winter period, which can result in an increased number of slip and fall accidents mainly because of the presence of snow, sleet, rain, and floor ornaments along regular walkways. Slip and fall accidents occur for one of two reasons:
- People are careless and don’t pay attention to where they walk.
- Property owners are negligent and don’t take sufficient care to remove hazards.
Hazards To Watch Out For During The Holiday Season
While slip and falls can occur at any time, it’s clear that certain factors during the holiday season can increase the risk of these types of accidents. Here are some things people can do to reduce their chances of a slip and fall accident:
- Watch out for floor decorations and ornaments when walking on pathways, sidewalks, and lawns.
- Look out for clothes and toys carelessly strewn on store floors during peak shopping periods.
- Make sure someone is available to support the ladder when climbing up to hang festive decorations and ornaments.
- Wear shoes with strong grips to reduce the risk of slip and fall accidents – avoid wearing pencil-thin heels or flip flops that can easily trip you while walking.
- Be aware of potential floor-tripping hazards during Christmas and New Year parties with heavy crowds around.
- Property owners should take care to keep the premises reasonably safe from potential slip and fall hazards – clear pathways, keep floors dry and make sure parking lots are free from debris.
While these precautions are important to reduce the risk of an accident, sometimes they are inevitable. The injured party must assess his/her own situation and circumstance before laying the blame on someone else.
Erratic Weather During The Festive Season Breeds Risks
As the festive season approaches, the weather starts to become erratic – rain, snow, and sleet are commonplace during the holidays, and it also gets dark much earlier than usual. When darkness descends, temperatures tend to fall and layers of slippery ice start to form, which can be hazardous for people walking to holiday parties – especially when outdoor areas are not properly maintained.
Festive Season Fall, Now What?
If you or a person close to you experiences a slip and fall injury, the first action should always be to get medical help. While no one wants to spend more time than usual in the hospital, you’re better off not risking your long-term health. Failure to get proper help could lead to some major preventable repercussions.
If you think that the property owner is responsible for the hazard that caused your slip and fall, take some time to document the situation through time-stamped pictures to strengthen your case of negligence in the future.
You’ll also want to take pictures of your injuries, whether cuts or bruises, to help your case in a situation where you decide to take legal action.
Taking pictures at the time of the hazard may be important because the owner can easily get rid of the evidence later, which then serves as a detriment to your case in the future.
Who Could Be Held Responsible For Your Fall?
When you’re at a party or shopping during the festive season, a number of parties may be responsible for a slip and fall accident. Some of the parties include:
- The host of a Christmas party.
- The owner of the property where the party is being held.
- A shop with items strewn on walkways.
- Government for public walkways.
- The company hired to maintain walkways.
- The bar manager serving too many drinks.
The festive season comes with a whole lot of merriment, but it also breeds an increased level of slip and fall risks that people must keep in mind. Being extra diligent around the holidays and particularly in high-risk areas can reduce your chances of a slip and fall accident tremendously. After all, no one wants to spend the holidays confined to a hospital bed because of a preventable slip and fall accident.