The winter holiday season is filled with celebrations that bring joy to many families and friends. But sadly, this time of year also brings a significant increase in motor vehicle accidents. Crashes occurring in the days near Christmas and the New Year injure and kill thousands in the United States each year. Some of those devastating crashes happen right here in Kentucky, leaving victims and their families grappling with mounting medical bills and other unexpected expenses.
If you were hurt or lost a loved one in a winter holiday wreck caused by someone else’s negligence, you could be entitled to compensation.
Here’s what you should know about Christmas and New Year crashes, including common causes, what you can do to protect your right to recovery, and how Skeeters, Bennett, Wilson & Humphrey’s skilled injury lawyers can assist you during this holiday season.
Common Causes of Winter Holiday Crashes in Kentucky
Although winter holiday accidents can have numerous causes, car crashes attributed to the following factors rise dramatically during this time of year:
Driving under the influence of alcohol is the leading cause of crashes with catastrophic injuries and fatalities during the holiday season. While alcohol impairment contributes to approximately 30 percent of the nation's annual traffic fatalities, this percentage rises to 39 percent in the days near Christmas and surges to 49 percent during the period between New Year's Eve and New Year's Day.
During the holidays, people often face increased work obligations, participate in many holiday celebrations, and spend additional time shopping and preparing for family get-togethers. It’s easy for people to burn the candle at both ends, leaving them exhausted and less able to pay attention while driving. Although the dangers of drinking and driving are well known, drivers often think nothing of getting behind the wheel when they’re tired. However, research shows that driving while drowsy is just as dangerous as driving under the influence of alcohol.
The demands of the holiday season lead many drivers to exceed the speed limit, resulting in an increase in speeding-related accidents. These crashes cause numerous injuries and claim the lives of more than 12,000 people per year (or more than 30 people each day).
Rain, snow, frost, fog, and other winter weather conditions also contribute to the rise in car accidents around Christmas and the New Year.
Steps to Take: Protecting Your Rights After a Holiday Car Accident in Kentucky
Knowing what to do when you’ve been in an accident can be difficult—especially during the hectic holiday season. These steps can help you protect your right to pursue compensation for your injuries and losses:
Documenting your injuries and losses is crucial to recovering fair compensation. If you’re able, take photos or videos of the accident scene, physical injuries, property damage, and road or weather conditions. Exchange contact and insurance information with other drivers involved in the crash, and get contact information from passengers and witnesses.
Get Medical Care
If you were injured in the crash, see a doctor as soon as possible. Attending follow-up appointments and completing your treatment as prescribed are essential to proving the severity of your injuries.
Consult a Personal Injury or Wrongful Death Lawyer
The holidays are stressful enough without trying to navigate the personal injury or wrongful death recovery process by yourself. Don’t take on this challenge alone. A knowledgeable and experienced personal injury or wrongful death attorney can help you explore your legal rights and options and help you avoid case-damaging mistakes that could cost you.
Skeeters, Bennett, Wilson & Humphrey offers free, no-obligation consultations. If we accept your case, we’ll take the day-to-day burden of litigation off your shoulders, so you can focus on your family’s physical and emotional well-being. Depending on the facts and evidence in your case, you could potentially recover compensation for medical expenses, lost wages and lost earning capacity, property damage, and pain and suffering.