Emergency rooms see a spike in visits every December, with some doctors estimating an increase of 10–15%. Some of these visits are not preventable or are truly accidents, but many of them are preventable and are the result of negligence on the part of businesses. To help you stay safe during the holidays, we’ve outlined some of the most common injuries and where they commonly occur below.
An estimated 66 children are treated for cart-related injuries every day, and that number increases during the hectic holiday shopping season. DWKMRS had a case where a child was injured after falling out of a grocery cart that had a non-functioning latch. The entire purpose of a cart’s seat belt is to keep a child safe so mom and dad don’t have to worry while they are shopping. Unfortunately, latches often break, don’t fully latch, or easily unlatch.
Grocery stores don’t inspect them, and yet store displays are designed to entice children to reach for products. Orlando Personal Injury Attorney Kenneth McKenna explains, “It’s all scientifically geared to get your money. There’s a reason that every aisle has a toy within arm’s reach at exactly the height of the shopping cart platform where the kids sit.”
Businesses have an obligation to keep their customers safe, whether from a wet floor or banana peel, from building modifications that are not in code, or from old, built-in features that are outdated and should be removed. DWKMRS had a case where a client fell off a ledge and was badly injured outside a well-known pizza joint. The threat to safety was obvious, which is why it was designated as an area for employees (who can’t sue because it would be covered by workers’ comp), though the area was directly outside of the restaurant. “Under no circumstances should customers be exposed to danger,” McKenna states, “and it’s the restaurant’s obligation to ensure a safe environment.”
There’s a science to steps, and the brain expects every step to be the same. If a step is even a fraction of an inch off, people will trip. This is one reason why stairs can be dangerous. There’s a famous video (see below) of a subway exit in New York that had an uneven step. Every third person stumbles as a result of that step, though fortunately no one in the video was injured as a result. A few days after the video went viral, the step was repaired.
One of our clients was not as fortunate, and we recently settled her case against a Hyundai dealer. They had a walkway with an uneven step in an area where customers don’t usually go. Our client fell straight forward and cracked her head. This kind of accident is not unique to car dealerships and can occur where ever there are stairs.
Keeping the Holidays Merry
Be aware, not fearful. To put it all in perspective, McKenna points out, “People dine out, shop, and buy cars a lot in December. They’re living their lives out in the world — and that’s a good thing.”
Yet accidents do happen, and some are caused by negligent businesses. If you believe that you or a loved one has been affected by the negligence of a business during the holidays, contact our expert personal injury attorneys for your free consultation.