The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) estimated that in November and December 2012, 15,000 people nationwide were injured due to holiday decorating. Between 2009 and 2011, fire departments responded to an average of 230 home fires each year as the result of Christmas trees igniting. Lighted candles and faulty electrical wiring in holiday lighting are other sources of fires.
Property owners owe their guests a duty of reasonable care to keep the property in a reasonably safe condition. Failure to do so can result in guests having a personal injury or wrongful death claim based on a negligence theory against the homeowner or business for failing to protect them from known, or reasonably knowable, causes of injury.
Take precautions this holiday season and follow these tips from safety experts to ensure you and your family and friends have a safe holiday season.
Take good care of your tree. If you purchase a live tree, make sure you take proper care of it. Check the tree stand daily to make sure it is filled with water, and do not place the tree near heat sources like electric heat fans, radiators or fireplaces. If you purchase an artificial tree, make sure you buy one that is fire resistant, which will lessen (although not eliminate) the possibility that it will catch fire from faulty wiring or other means.
Check lighting. Check all holiday lights, both indoor and outdoor, for broken bulbs or other evidence of faulty wiring or frayed cords, such as chew marks, nicks or tears. Replace any broken bulbs or the entire line if there is evidence of fraying.
Avoid deep-fried turkey. People rave about it, but experts say you should avoid deep frying your turkey. Commercially available units, which are designed for outdoor use, require a substantial amount of oil to cook the turkey, and pose a significant risk of releasing hot oil during the cooking process, which can cause serious burn damage.
Keep decorations away from the lights. Avoid crowding decorations around places where you will have lights, including the tree – 19% of fires began when something fell on to the holiday lights.
Avoid holiday plants. If small children will be part of your holiday celebration, steer clear of traditional holiday plants. Mistletoe and the berries from the holly plant are poisonous and can cause severe stomach upset or death to small children who eat the attractive red berries.
Walnut Creek Personal Injury Attorneys
If you or a loved one has been injured at a holiday party, you may have a personal injury claim on the theory of negligence. Homeowners and businesses have a duty to keep guests safe from reasonably known injuries. Failure to take proper safety precautions with electric lights, candles and fire can be negligent, and you may be entitled to compensation for your injuries. The personal injury attorneys at Walnut Creek’s Appel Law Firm LLP have more than 60 combined years’ experience successfully handling personal injury claims. Contact our Walnut Creek office today at 888-572-0674, or complete or web form, to schedule a free consultation to discuss your case.