What comes to mind when you think about New Year’s Eve? Perhaps you think of the big countdown to midnight, or the fireworks displays that often follow. Maybe you think of celebrating the New Year with the people you are closest to – friends and family, adults and children. It’s probably fair to say you wouldn’t immediately think of accidents on New Year’s Eve, and yet these do happen to some people around midnight every year, as 31st December tips into 1st January and the New Year begins.
Accidents on New Year’s Eve don’t happen to lots of people, but some will welcome in the fresh year with injuries they didn’t have when they set out to celebrate the previous night. Fireworks can potentially cause injury if they are not handled and stored properly. The Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (RoSPA) reveals a 10-step Firework Code that lists the important things to remember to keep everyone safe when using fireworks.
Is the New Year a dangerous time?
Death rates have been noted to peak around the Christmas and New Year period. This accounts for all deaths, though, and it is not certain why there is a peak during this period. The death rates also cover all deaths, and not just those that happen on New Year’s Eve. However, with increased alcohol being drunk to celebrate the season, there is always news of people being caught drink-driving.
In one year alone (2013), Brake, the road safety charity, reported that 7,123 people had been caught drink-driving over the Christmas and New Year period. While there is a legal limit in force for alcohol permissible in the bloodstream when driving, it is always best not to drink at all if you know you are going to drive.
If you have been injured in a car accident caused by a drunk driver, you should seek immediate medical care for your injuries, and call the police. If the other driver flees the scene before the police arrive, take their number plate details and get a description (or better still, some photos on your mobile phone) if you can. This will help the police find the person responsible. You can then contact a personal injury lawyer to claim compensation for the injuries you sustained.
Are you safe when celebrating in the home?
Not always. Every year, around 6,000 people die because they suffered a fatal accident in the home. The increased amount of alcohol flowing during the Christmas and New Year period increases the odds of something going wrong. Many will seek hospital treatment because they suffered accidents on New Year’s Eve, too – not the way to bring in the New Year.
If you are celebrating at someone else’s home and you are hurt in an accident, it may be worth assessing what happened so you can determine whether it was simply unfortunate, whether it was your fault, or whether the householder was responsible. If the latter is a possibility, there could be a chance to claim compensation for accidents on New Year’s Eve. You can chat to a personal injury advisor without obligation initially, to enable you to benefit from their experience of handling claims relating to all kinds of accidents on New Year’s Eve.
Slips and falls
New Year’s Eve can be mild some years, but others see cold weather with temperatures dropping close to or below freezing. Since more people will be up around midnight and into the early hours, there is an increased chance of suffering a slip or fall on icy pavements and roads. Combine this with someone who has drunk alcohol and the risk of injury in accidents on New Year’s Eve rises further.
There are many things you can do to avoid slips and falls, but even when you follow all the tips and advice given, you could still be injured. Sometimes, you could simply be unlucky, but it is wise to consider what happened and how you fell or slipped. If you were walking along a path that should have been cleared of ice and snow but wasn’t, you could make a claim against whoever was responsible for clearing it.
Similarly, many roads will be gritted when the temperature drops below a certain level. If this isn’t done, and you suffer an injury because of it, you could claim. To find out if this is the case, speaking to a solicitor who deals in such claims is the best thing to do to start with.
Crowded casualty units on New Year’s Eve
If you are injured on this night, do remember casualty units are likely to be stretched to capacity. Consider how serious your injury is and whether you need to go to casualty. Minor injuries may be better treated by your GP when they re-open. You can also use walk-in centres or minor injuries units, both of which are provided in many areas.
Claiming for accidents on New Year’s Eve
As we’ve seen, accidents on New Year’s Eve can come in all guises. If you were unfortunate this year and you did have an injury you weren’t to blame for sustaining, it might be worth finding out whether someone else was negligent. It’s not always easy to work out the answer, which is why we would strongly encourage you to call our team at Accident Advice Helpline to learn more about your own situation.
This can be done without charge, simply by calling 0800 689 0500 now. You could also use your mobile to ring our advisors on 0333 500 0993 if you want an urgent answer. With our website also providing you with a quick test consisting of just a few simple questions, you could also take this route to finding the answers you need. Whichever way you decide to begin, let Accident Advice Helpline help you work out whether you could make a no-win, no-fee* claim with our help today.
Date Published: December 21, 2015
Author: David Brown