Decking the halls is surprisingly dangerous. According to the Consumer Safety Products Commission (CPSC), there were over 14,000 injuries – including 12 deaths – caused by holiday decorations in the last two months of last year.
Topping the list of injuries were falls and cuts, followed by back strain and ingestion of foreign objects. The CPSC warns consumers to take precautions this holiday season to avoid injury from decorations.
The greatest risks come from:
- Sharp, heavy and delicate decorations – Lacerations led the list of injuries last year
- Small foreign objects – Ingestion of foreign objects were a problem because many decorations include bits that look like candy or other food, as well as other small, removable parts
- Fires – The reporting period had 10 deaths that were caused by fires. To cut down on fire risk: choose lights that are certified by a safety laboratory; inspect your lights for damage and discard any that are damaged; keep burning candles in stable places where they cannot ignite items; before buying a Christmas tree, make sure it is “fire resistant”; keep live Christmas trees away from heat sources and well-watered.
- Falls – Over 1/3 of the holiday decorating injuries involved falls, and about half of those were falls from ladders; use caution when using ladders to hang lights or install other decorations.
Liability for defective holiday decorations
Each year, consumers flood the stores to buy decorations that pop up in temporary Christmas departments. However, these decorations may not meet the safety standards buyers would expect in permanent-use objects.
When someone is hurt while decorating and a defective or unreasonably unsafe product is to blame, he or she may be entitled to compensation from the manufacturer, distributor, or seller.
There are several ways for these parties to be held liable for the accident, including:
- A defective design – The product is engineered in a way that will always result in a dangerous object even if it is assembled carefully.
- Defective manufacturing – The product has a safe design but a flaw amounting to a safety risk was introduced as some stage of the production like assembly or packaging.
- Failure to warn – The manufacturer has fallen short in providing consumers with instructions for proper operation or has failed to warn about risks inherent in the use of the product in its intended manner.
Compensation available to plaintiffs
Litigation may help plaintiffs secure damages to account for:
- Medical expenses, both past and future
- Lost wages
- Reduced earning capacity
- Physical and emotional pain and suffering
- Funeral expenses
- Wrongful death claims
These types of lawsuits can be brought in state or federal courts but each have their own rules and statutes of limitations. Injury victims should always consult with an experienced product liability lawyer to make sure all court requirements are met.
If you have suffered injury from a defective household product or holiday decoration, the personal injury attorneys of Edelman, Krasin & Jaye are here to help. New York area residents can contact us at 1-800-469-7429 to schedule a free case evaluation.