Personal Injury Does Not Mean Only Car Accidents
Let's start by asking, where the heck did 2017 go? Around our office, it seems everyone thinks the year flew by too fast. Whether you're mentally done with 2017 or wishing the year would last a little longer, the end is near. Soon, after the firework smoke blows away and the hangovers fade, 2018 will be here.
There are a lot of things going on over the long New Year's weekend, and we're not just talking about parties. In our personal injury law practice, we represent folks who have suffered some type of personal injury that had nothing to do with a motor vehicle accident. When the person was injured because of the careless or negligent actions of another person or entity, that's where we step in to help.
New Year's Eve and the whole extended weekend can lend itself to many scenarios in which someone could potentially suffer a serious personal injury:
Yes, There Will Be Car Crashes
In 2017, Lee County saw in increase in the number of car crash fatalities on our roadways, and the year's not over yet. Whether it's caused by driving while under the influence of drugs or alcohol, distracted driving, excessive speed or aggressive driving, you can bet there will be more car or motorcycle accidents before the year ends. There are dozens of local restaurants, clubs and other community organizations promoting a New Year's Eve party, which means cars on the road going to and from. Sadly, people don't always plan to have either a designated driver, or to take an Uber ride home. (Trust us – a $50 Uber ride will seem like small change when you're forced to compare it with getting pulled over and charged with DUI, or causing a serious car wreck.)
Please, for your sake and those you'll be sharing the road with, have some type of option in place to get home safely if you've been out and have consumed too much alcohol. Most people think that having a couple of drinks or glasses of wine is no problem, and they'll be fine driving home. But, there are many factors that come into play when determining just how alcohol effects an individual's motor skills, cognitive functions and vision:
- Rate of consumption
- Drink strength
- Body type
- Fat/Muscle content
- Emotional state
- Medications you are on
- Food you've consumed
- Carbonation of drinks
- Alcohol tolerance
- Overall health
Technically, New Year's Eve is not the most dangerous time to encounter a drunk or impaired driver. It's actually New Year's Day, or well after the stroke of midnight. As you can imagine, when the party animals try to make it home is when the real danger ramps up. The New York Times reports that more than 50% of fatal crashes on New Year's Day involve a driver whose blood alcohol level is above the legal limit of 0.08%. It's the leading holiday when it comes to drunk driving arrests and crashes, ahead of July 4th and St. Patrick's Day.
No one says you can't dance ‘til the light of day – just don't do anything that will risk your life, or the lives of those around you.
Outdoor New Year's Celebrations
Downtown Fort Myers, Cape Coral and Fort Myers Beach are just some of the places hosting large, outdoor parties for the end of the year. Thousands of people converging and leaving the same area can present many situations that could lead to becoming a victim of personal injury.
Whenever you have pedestrians and cars mixing, you've got a potentially dangerous situation. Parking and walking at night near motor vehicle traffic can be extremely dangerous. When you factor in the use of alcohol, either by a driver or someone on foot, the risks increase. And when thousands of people try to leave a large outdoor event all at or near the same time, the chances of road rage go up dramatically. We've all seen that guy who just thinks he has the right to cut into a traffic line because his time is more valuable than everyone else's.
In Cape Coral, there's going to be a bar-hopping trolley tour of South Cape bars and clubs. Sounds like fun – until you wonder what happens when all those trolley riders come to the end of the line, and hop back into their cars to drive home.
If you're planning on celebrating at a local fireworks show or block party, go with the attitude that you're not in any rush, and allow yourself extra time to get to and from your destination safely. And again, if you're going to drink, don't drive home.
Negligent or Non-Existent Security
When you attend a large, organized event, you may expect that those responsible for holding the event have taken proper measures to ensure the safety of those in attendance. But as evidenced by recent events like Zombicon, that's not always the case. The personal injury attorneys at Goldberg Noone Abraham, represented a young man who was shot at that event, and there were many questions about exactly how the security plans for that event took shape, and how they were carried out. Things like the number of security personnel working the event and exactly how they were trained to handle the huge crowds of people became central issues in that case.
A person should have a reasonable expectation of being safe at an organized event, whether it's indoors or outside. The organizers and sponsors of an event have a legal responsibility to provide a safe, secure environment, but we've found that is not always the case.
Bars, clubs and restaurants are also among the locations where a lack of proper security people and poor safety procedures can result in someone being seriously injured. There may be a drunken patron causing trouble with other patrons, and security personnel are supposed to be trained in handling those types of situations quickly, and without inflicting injury to any innocent bystanders. Today, more and more people are carrying a concealed weapon legally, and the odds of encountering someone who decides to pull out a gun in a confrontation are much higher than ever before.
You just never know what types of situations you're going to find yourself in, and you run an increased chance of being injured if some local venue has not thoroughly addressed their security needs and procedures to adequately protect those who go to their establishment.
Slip and fall Injuries on New Year's
Let's say you're at a big outdoor fireworks party, ready to watch the big ball drop to ring in the new year. There's a lot of street vendors at the event, and some have large rolling beer carts filled with ice. The ice melts, and water drains from the cart onto the street or sidewalk.
Someone can easily slip on wet pavement, and end up on the ground with a bad injury to their arm, leg, hip or even a head or facial injury.
Oftentimes at an outdoor event or festival that features live music, there will be hundreds of electrical extension cords necessary to power up the bands and all their gear. Event staff will often try to cover the cables and cords with tape, or some sort of mat or even sheets of plywood. These types of scenarios can be a recipe for disaster if someone loses their footing and hits the ground hard.
Don't End 2017 as a Statistic
No one knows when they wake up every day what awaits them, especially when they set out behind the wheel. We understand that knowing a skilled and experienced personal injury lawyer is not something that everyone takes into consideration during their day-to-day lives.
But we want you to know we are always here for you, ready to answer any questions you may have if you been victimized by an injury. It never costs a penny to speak directly to one of our attorneys, and you're never under any obligation to hire our firm. We'll provide you with correct answers to all your legal questions, and honestly and openly discuss your options with you. What you'll find you need after suffering an injury through the fault of someone else are answers – and we've got the information you need.
The Partners and staff at Goldberg Noone Abraham, wish you a happy, safe and memorable New Year's celebration, and we look forward to being here to help in 2018 and beyond. You can always reach us at 239-461-5508 – even after normal business hours. Or, you can fill out this simple form and we'll get in touch with you quickly.
(For a listing of local New Year's Eve events and parties, click here.)