If you’ve seen the movie Christmas with the Kranks, you’ll remember that classic scene where Tim Allen falls from the roof while trying to put Frosty up. In real life, accidents like this do happen and can result in serious injuries. The good news is many of these incidents are preventable. Here’s some handy tips to help keep you safe this season:
- Icy parking lots and sidewalks – We love ice for cold drinks, hockey, and skating… but less so when it comes to our roads and sidewalks. Slip and falls are very common during the winter months and can cause broken bones, sprains, head trauma, and other injuries. Keep your walkways clear of ice and snow. Wear footwear with a good grip when you are outdoors. If you are injured as a result of a slip and fall on someone else’s property (i.e. neighbour’s sidewalk, shopping centre parking lot, etc.), you may be eligible for compensation through an injury claim.
- Toboggan and skating rink accidents – The snow brings lots of fun activities outdoors. But before you lace up and hit the rink, make sure you are wearing proper protective equipment such as padding, skates that fit properly, and of course, a helmet. Tobogganing and sledding injuries can lead to broken bones, brain injury, and – in the case of this Calgary teen – even spinal cord injury. Watch for hazards on the slopes. Bundle up for extra warmth and padding, and always wear a helmet.
- Driving under the influence –Tis’ the season of holiday dinners, office parties, and getting together with friends and family. If you plan on celebrating the holidays with a few drinks, don’t drive. Call an Uber. Call a sober friend. Stay over. It isn’t just for your own safety, it’s for others too. On average, one in five Alberta drivers involved in fatal collisions had been drinking before the accident. Keep the holiday spirit alive by doing your part to help keep the roads safe for everyone this year.
- Texting and driving – According to a recent article in the Calgary Herald, distracted driving is responsible for more than a quarter of crashes in Alberta. It’s easy to feel overly confident behind the wheel, but the reality is that taking your eyes off the road for two seconds doubles your risk of crashing. During the holidays, traffic increases and so do accidents. Icy roads add another risk factor at this time of year. Distracted driving shouldn’t add to the list. Keep your eyes on the road like your life depends on it.
- Snowmobiling accidents – Are you even an Albertan if you haven’t been snowmobiling? Snowmobiling is popular recreational activity during the winter months, and it can also provide alternative transportation in hard-to-get-to backcountry. Just remember that anytime you operate a motorized vehicle, there’s an increased risk of injury. Wear a helmet. Watch your speed. And if a snowmobiling injury occurs as a result of someone else’s negligence, you may be able to claim compensation for your injuries.
- Carbon monoxide from a gas fireplace – We can’t think of a better time of year to cozy up next to the fire. Just be sure to do so safely. The majority of carbon monoxide exposures happen during the winter. If you have a gas fireplace, get your fireplace inspected every year. If you haven’t done so already, invest in an effective smoke and carbon monoxide detector. And if it’s been a while since you’ve changed the batteries in your detector, put some new ones in just to be on the safe side.
- Don’t slip and fall while decking the halls – For many, the holiday season isn’t complete without lights and decorations. If putting up your lights is a two-person job, don’t try to do it alone. Wear the right footwear for what you are doing. If you can’t reach something, use a ladder— make sure it’s level and get someone to spot you. Indoor and outdoor electrical cords are a tripping hazard too, so avoid putting them in areas people walk through.
- Christmas tree fires – A fire is not the way you want to light up the tree this season (think Uncle Lewis setting the tree on fire in National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation). Christmas tree fires are usually caused by electrical problems or keeping the tree too close to heat sources such as electric lights, heaters, fireplaces, or candles. If you’re using a real tree, keep your live tree watered to prevent it from drying out and becoming a hazard. As always, make sure your smoke detector and fire alarm are in good working condition.
If you have been injured as a result of someone else’s negligence, you may be able to claim compensation for your injuries. In Alberta, you generally have up to two years from the date of an accident to make a claim in court, or your right to do so is lost forever. But it’s important not to wait as there may be other important deadlines or circumstances, that may affect the deadline or your claim.
Have questions? Call us anytime to get free legal answers or fill out our contact form online and we’ll reach out to you. Stay safe out there, and we hope you enjoy the holidays!