It’s hard to imagine during what’s supposed to be the most wonderful time of the year, but statistics show that tragedy does strike during the holidays. When it results in the loss of a loved one, Texans are often left dealing with unexpected medical expenses, funeral costs, and the emotional trauma of the experience – all while trying to get through a time when everyone around them is cheery and celebrating togetherness.
If you find yourself in this type of situation, one of the easiest things to lose sight of is the fact that not all “accidents” are innocent or impossible to prevent. If another’s wrongful act, lack of skill, carelessness, or neglect led to your loved one’s death, this is considered wrongful death, and you can hold the responsible parties accountable for their actions – and get needed and deserved compensation for what you’ve suffered.
Some of the most common reasons Texans end up filing wrongful death suits over the holidays are due to problems with defective products, motor vehicle accidents, workplace fatalities, and medical malpractice. In this post, we’re going to look at each one.
The ultimate season of consumerism is upon us, as 200 million-plus Americans surf the web and scour stores to buy the best gifts for their loved ones. In fact, five Texas cities landed on the 2018 holiday budget top-10 list.
What no one plans on, though, are the unexpected defects in the products we purchase that can lead to serious injuries – or even death. Defective product lawsuits often point to design, manufacturing, and warning label issues as common causes.
Motor Vehicle Accidents
Distracted and drunk driving accidents are common year around, but they can increase dramatically over the holidays. This time of year, we’re calling and texting with friends and family and we’re celebrating a lot. Unfortunately, ,some of us – to the detriment of others – are doing it all while driving.
According to TXDOT, more than 13,000 crashes occurred across Texas between Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve in 2017, resulting in nearly a hundred fatalities over that week.
We don’t often think of there being an increase in workplace fatalities during the holidays because many of us are on vacation, focusing on family and home. However, it actually makes perfect sense.
Because retail theft and robbery increases during the holidays, which means that an employee’s risk of wrongful death while on the job increases as well.
Moreover, in corporate offices employees tend to decorate as they would at home – live Christmas trees, a ton of lights plugged into over-used outlets, and candles – which can lead to fires.
Finally, this is also a time when staff typically cut back to a skeleton crew. Time off is usually granted by seniority, leaving the door open to unsafe working conditions and negligence by insufficiently or improperly trained workers.
The year before last, a Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine study reported that after heart disease and cancer, medical errors are the leading cause of death in the U.S.
That’s scary enough, but when you mix it with the holidays, it gets even worse.
Because just like in other workplaces, doctors’ office and hospital staff are all vying for time off. That means less experienced, more stressed, and likely distracted newbies are often left covering those holiday shifts.
Plus, when a medical professional is called in, there’s always the chance that they’ve been engaging in a bit of “celebrating” as well.
All of this means that patients have a greater risk of suffering medical malpractice than at others time of the year.
Ultimately, you can’t stop every possible accident. What you can do, though, is be careful out there this holiday season, and enjoy your time with family and friends.
And if you do end up in a tragic situation, remember that you have rights, and reach out for help. We’re here if you need us.
About the Author:
Brandon Fulgham has an in-depth understanding of both Texas law and Texans themselves. Before practicing law here, he received his undergraduate degree from TCU, and his law degree from South Texas College of Law in Houston. After graduation, he worked in District Attorneys’ offices as a prosecutor. Now, he uses that knowledge to anticipate opposing counsel’s arguments and protect the rights of people in and around Fort Worth. He has been recognized for his work by The National Trial Lawyers, Fort Worth Magazine, and others.