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Christmas is just days away, and this time is filled with laughter, family, friends, and revisiting all the memories you have made this year. The holidays should be a happy time, but each year there are thousands of people who are injured or killed in Christmas and holiday-related accidents. Our Florida Injury Lawyers at Whittel & Melton want you and your loved ones to stay safe this holiday season, so we have compiled a list of the most common Christmas accidents.

Common Christmas Accidents

The holidays bring joy, but also give rise to more accidents and injuries. From DUI accidents to Christmas tree fires, there are numerous accidents that could happen during the holidays, the most common being the following:

  • christmas-g5411a15ae_1920-300x194Decoration/Christmas light accidents: Decking the halls can be deadly. According to Science News, Christmas tree lights cause an estimated 31,855 injuries nationwide each year. Electrical injuries from decorations other than tree lights are estimated to injure 36,054 and nonelectrical decorations injure 80,208 annually. On that same note, using ladders and heavy lifting account for numerous visits to the ER each year.
  • Christmas tree fires: Live Christmas trees require water daily, and when these trees are dry, the risk for a fire increases exponentially. Most people are not aware that live Christmas trees need water daily, and even if they are aware, many forget to do so. If you have a live tree, keep it hydrated. You can read more about preventing Christmas tree fires here.
  • Cooking accidents: Winter holidays are peak times for cooking fires. Cooking equipment and candles all contribute to fire-related accidents around Christmas time in the U.S.
  • Car accidents: The National Safety Council (NSC) estimates that 371 people will be killed in car accidents across the U.S. for the 2021 Christmas Day holiday period (6 p.m. Thursday, December 23 – 11:59 p.m. Sunday, December 26.) Drunk driving, distracted driving, and all other reckless behavior while driving can easily contribute to a fatal car crash.

The easiest way to prevent a Christmas accident from happening, is to celebrate responsibly. Exercise added caution this Christmas season so that you can avoid a slip and fall, a fire, or car crash that can forever impact future Christmas celebrations.

Ho, Ho…Ouch! Common Christmas Injuries

Accidents can happen anytime, but there is an increase during the Christmas holiday season. Broken ornaments, tree and candle fires, ladder falls, cooking accidents, and even wrapping and opening presents can lead to injuries like deep lacerations and burns that can be painful and ruin your holiday.

If you or a loved one suffers a serious injury to do another person’s recklessness or a product defect of some kind, then you could be entitled to financial damages. The most common Christmas injuries are:

  • Burn Injuries
  • Back Injuries
  • Neck Injuries
  • Hand and Finger Injuries
  • Head Injuries
  • Scars and lacerations

If you are injured over the Christmas holiday, then you should remain calm and seek medical care right away. If you are contemplating filing a personal injury claim, you will want to have an attorney assess your case to determine your odds of recovering financial compensation. We will be available 24/7 over this holiday season, so we urge you to call us at 866-608-5529 or contact us online for a free consultation.

Need Help this Holiday Season with an Injury Claim?

If a Christmas injury has dampened your holidays, then you need to speak with our Florida Personal Injury Lawyers at Whittel & Melton today to learn more about pursuing a legal claim for damages. We can eliminate the stress and hassle these claims can place on you during this hard time and make sure you understand and are updated on the legal process every step of the way. To learn more about how we may be able to assist with your claim, call us now at 866-608-5529 or contact us online for a free consultation.
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The tradition of a real Christmas tree may be something your family enjoys partaking in every year. Loading everybody up in the car and heading to the tree farm to select your perfect tree, chop it down, and bring it home to decorate might be what Christmas means to you. Fresh trees smell great and can be quite charming, but you may not realize that real trees can be very hazardous when they are dry. A dry tree combined with fireplaces, hot Christmas lights, and any other sources of heat can be a recipe for real disaster. In fact, the National Fire Protection Association has said that dry Christmas trees can quickly turn into a rapidly spreading fire that burns even faster than paper. If your version of Christmas involves a live tree, then you need to know how to prevent a tree fire from ruining your holiday.

How Do Dry Trees Lead to a Fire?

Take a look at this video published by the National Fire Protection Association to see just how hazardous an unwatered Christmas tree can really be.

What starts as a small flame quickly demolishes the tree in just a few seconds. At 30 seconds, the entire room is engulfed in a blaze. This is how Christmas tree fires happen every year and devastate families holiday traditions.

How to Prevent Christmas Tree Fires

Perhaps the most logical answer for this is to just water your live tree. Trees that are hydrated are much less likely to start a blaze.

Live Christmas trees must be watered daily. Many people do not realize that their live tree needs water every single day. Research indicates that 70% of people with live trees are unaware that their tree needs water daily. Only 45% of people with live trees actually water them daily, so there is a huge risk of fires happening in households all across Florida and the rest of the U.S.

While you want to make sure that your Christmas tree is watered daily, you also want to make sure that you are purchasing a hydrated tree before you get it home. You can do this by only buying a tree that has been freshly chopped. Trees that have been previously cut weeks ago have been losing water and because of their dehydrated state, it can be much more difficult to get them hydrated so that they do not pose risk of catching fire.

In addition to watering your tree, you can also follow these tips to prevent a fire:

  • Make sure all lights do not have loose connections or any frayed cords
  • Just use one extension cord for your tree lights so that nothing gets too tangled
  • Turn the lights off on your tree every day/night before leaving or going to sleep
  • DO NOT place candles near your tree
  • Keep your tree AT LEAST THREE FEET from any heat source
  • By observing the above tips, you can make sure your holiday goes smoothly.

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Former Cardinal Theodore McCarrick, 91, has been accused of sexually assaulting a teen boy in Massachusetts in June of 1974, making him the highest ranking church official to face charges of this nature. 

He was charged Wednesday with three counts of indecent assault and battery on a child over the age of 14 in Dedham District Court by the Wellesley Police Department. This is his first criminal charge since he has been accused of abusing seminary students in New Jersey years ago. 

The charges stem from an incident at a wedding in June 1974 in Wellesley, Massachusetts.

According to records, the accuser was 16 at the time of the incident and was also abused at other locations in Massachusetts and in other states, including New Jersey.

McCarrick ranked among powerful officials in the Catholic Church for decades until he was removed from ministry in 2018 after the church found abuse allegations against him to hold merit. He was defrocked a year later following accusations that he abused children and adult seminary students.

While the man has been sued several times by men in New York and New Jersey who claim he abused them as children, the statute of limitations has kept authorities from proceeding with any criminal charges. 

priest-3621038_1920-300x169But now, under Massachusetts law, the statute of limitations would have been suspended when McCarrick, who worked in the New York Archdiocese at the time, left the state after the wedding.

McCarrick was the bishop of Metuchen in the 1980s and the Archbishop of Newark from 1987 to 2000. He was then promoted to be head of the Washington, D.C., Archdiocese even though Pope John Paul II was investigating allegations against McCarrick for abusing adult seminary students at a New Jersey shore home for many years.

A Vatican report issued last year alleged that several New Jersey bishops lied in letters to the pope about what they knew about sexual abuse allegations against McCarrick, which helped him have his promotion approved.

McCarrick is accused of abusing children in other pending lawsuits that were filed in New Jersey under a law that suspended the civil statute of limitations on sex abuse complaints for two years, starting Dec. 1, 2019.

McCarrick is currently residing at the St. John Vianney Renewal Center in Dittmer, Missouri, a home for clerics who have committed sexual abuse and other troubled priests, according to reports. Missouri records apparently show that eight registered sex offenders, including two from New York, live at that address.

If you or your son, daughter, stepchild, niece, nephew, or grandchild were sexually abused by a member of the Catholic church, then you may be able to pursue a lawsuit against the perpetrator of the abuse as well as the Church itself. The diocese has an obligation to keep children and others safe from their employers and should conduct a background check on its employees to make sure that priests and other employees are cleared to be around children. Likewise, any allegations made against priests or other employees should be investigated thoroughly to prevent further sex abuse complaints. If the diocese failed to conduct a background check or knew that a priest had a history of child sex abuse complaints against them or had any other indications that raised any red flags, then they can be held liable for their negligence.  Continue reading

A 24-year-old woman with a blood alcohol level more than three times the legal limit ran a red light in Delray Beach on Sunday and slammed into a couple crossing the street while pushing their two young children in a stroller, according to police.

According to a city police report, the accident happened around 10:40 p.m. Just minutes after the crash occurred at the intersection of East Atlantic Avenue and Gleason Street, the woman apparently fled the scene.

The Boynton Beach woman stopped her vehicle after she plowed her Honda Accord into traffic signs about three minutes away on the 700 block of Southeast Third Street. That is where officers caught up to her and placed her under arrest.

The man and woman she hit were left lying in the road. The stroller they were pushing carried their 4-year-old girl and 1-year-old boy, who were not harmed. The impact of the collision sent the stroller flying into the bushes with the children strapped inside.

Both parents were transported to Delray Medical Center and the children were turned over to family members. According to a police spokeswoman, the mother was released from the hospital Sunday night, while the father remained in the hospital Monday with a serious leg injury.

Police claim a witness to the crash helped them locate the woman accused of hitting the couple. They apparently found her sitting in her silver Accord after she crashed it a second time with the engine running and the windshield smashed. She allegedly admitted to hitting the family and fleeing the scene.

An officer at the scene claims the woman apologized several times.

Police noted the woman had glassy, red eyes and the scent of alcohol on her breath. She allegedly admitted to consuming several vodka drinks.

According to the arrest report, she nearly fell over and struggled to perform the field sobriety exercises she was asked to complete. Several of the tests were ended because the woman could not comprehend the instructions.

Reports indicate that breath tests revealed the woman’s blood alcohol content to be .263 and .265. The legal limit is .08.

car key betch.jpgThe woman has a clean driving record, however she just received her Florida driver’s license about two weeks ago, according to state records.

She is facing charges of DUI causing serious injury and hit and run. She remained jailed in lieu of $10,000 bail as of late Monday.

Any time a driver chooses to get behind the wheel of a car after drinking, they knowingly place everyone sharing the road with them in serious danger. Palm Beach County drunken driving accidents can result in catastrophic injuries, including lacerations, disfigurement, broken bones and fractures. These accidents can also cause more serious and even permanent injuries like spinal cord injuries, traumatic brain injuries and even death.

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