With the holidays come family gatherings, beautiful lights, trees, wreaths, and emergency room visits. According to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, nearly 15,000 holiday injuries required emergency room visits in 2016, with 41% of those resulting from falls and 10% from lacerations. The most common cause of those accidents? Putting up and taking down holiday decorations.
Whose Fault is it When Christmas Decorations Go Wrong?
From falling off of a ladder to electric shock, the holiday decorating injury possibilities are quite serious. Even just one emergency room visit could be a blow to your pocket-book, not to mention the physical pain and recovery time.
If your tree, lights, or other festive décor come out of the box with a defect that causes injury, you may still struggle to get the full compensation you deserve. Georgia code uses comparative liability to determine who is at fault or, more accurately, how much each party is at fault. This means that faulty wiring may not get you much in damages if you did not follow the manufacturer’s instructions. To ensure your safety and full damages in case of injury, it is important to use holiday decorations in a way that complies with all instructions and warning labels.
Your own injuries are not the only danger this holiday season. Having someone else do your holiday decorating for you may protect you from physical harm, but not from legal obligations. Under Georgia Code, property owners are liable for injuries that result from failing to keep the property safe. Dangerous property conditions to watch for include:
- Broken steps
- Missing or broken handrails
- Uneven sidewalks
- Slippery floors or other surfaces
Preventing Holiday Tragedy
You can not guarantee that your holiday decorations will come from the factory with no defects, but there are some things you can do to ensure that you and your family remain safe this holiday season.
- Carefully read and follow the guidelines provided with your ladder and holiday décor.
- Never work on a ladder alone.
- Use only lights that have the UL stamp of approval.
- Ensure that ladders and step stools are placed on smooth, sturdy surfaces before climbing.
- Never leave power tools or electric decorations plugged in when not in use.
- Make sure your property and tools are in good, safe, working order before you or someone you love begins work on holiday decorations.
Even if you have taken reasonable steps to protect yourself and any others assisting you with your holiday décor, accidents do happen. If someone is injured at your home, be sure to notify your homeowners insurance company right away. They may require documentation that is easier to acquire soon after the accident. Additionally, a lawyer specializing in personal injury can help you determine your level of fault and reach a fair settlement.
Contact an Experienced Personal Injury Attorney Today
If your holiday plans get interrupted by a visit to the emergency room, you may be entitled to damages from your injuries. Do not let the complicated comparative liability codes dissuade you from seeking compensation. Contact Lankford & Moore Law today to learn more.