New Year's Eve should be a fun night for celebration. Unfortunately, accidents sometimes occur on this festive night. And when they do, serious personal injuries and fatalities are often a result.
That's why it's important to be aware of the most common risks people face on New Year's Eve and what you can do to avoid them. But even the safest people can get hurt on the last night of the year.
That's why we created this list of common ways people get hurt on New Year's Eve - and what to do to avoid such accidents. We know because the personal injury attorneys at the Herrera Law Firm have been working with injury victims throughout Texas for decades.
How do people get hurt on New Year's Eve?
People can get hurt all sorts of ways on New Year's Eve. However, some injuries are more common than others. These often include:
- Drunk driving accidents - Accidents caused by drunk drivers on New Year's Eve often result in serious injuries and fatalities. And Texas continues to lead the nation in the total number of drunk driving fatalities. A total of 1,323 people died in drunk driving accidents in Texas in 2015 alone.
- Fireworks injuries - Thousands of people are injured every year by fireworks. And fireworks-related injuries often skyrocket during New Year's Eve, especially in warmer places like Texas, where people often ring in the new year outdoors.
- Pedestrian accidents - Walking on New Year's Eve and early on New Year's Day can be especially dangerous due to drunk drivers. One study found that New Year's Day is the deadliest day of the year for pedestrians. In many cases, it was found that the pedestrians in question were also intoxicated at the time of their accident.
- Gunfire injuries - Some people ring in the new year with celebratory gunfire. Shooting a gun into the air can be deadly and often results in dozens of deaths nationwide each year, according to Time Magazine.
- Champagne cork injuries - Opening a bottle of Champagne or other sparkling wine can be more dangerous than many people might realize. Corks are a fast-moving projectile, and often poorly aimed. Flying corks can cause serious eye injuries, notes The New York Times.
"What can I do to stay safe on New Year's Eve?"
So what should you do to avoid a serious injury on New Year's Eve? Here's some common sense advice designed to keep you safe:
- Designate a driver - If you are going out to celebrate, make sure you designate someone to stay sober and drive everyone home.
- Only use legal fireworks - Texas and the city of San Antonio have very strict laws when it comes to fireworks. Specifically, San Antonio has laws banning fireworks. Only sparklers are allowed in the city. If you're not sure what's legal, ask an authorized fireworks dealer.
- Keep a Fire extinguisher- If you do decide to use legal fireworks, make sure you have a working fire extinguisher on hand and ready to use.
- Don't walk drunk - If you have had too much to drink and need to get home, don't walk. Call a cab or ask a sober friend to drive you home. Just because you're not driving doesn't mean you're safe if you walk home.
- No celebratory gunfire - This suggestion practically goes without saying. Don't shoot a gun in the air to celebrate the new year.
- Safely open sparkling wine - When opening a bottle of Champagne or sparkling wine, make sure you point the bottle away from your face and anyone else's. Slowly twist the cork out and don't shake the bottle around before opening.
"What should I do if I get hurt on New Year's Eve?"
We realize accidents happen, no matter how prepared you might be on New Year's Eve. Often, such injuries occur due to someone else's reckless behavior. When they do, we recommend taking the following steps:
- Seek immediate medical attention - This is the most important step. If you or a loved one gets hurt on New Year's Eve, go straight to the emergency room. If you wait to see a doctor, your injury could get worse. And if it's life-threatening, your health could be on the line.
- Call the police - If someone broke the law (whether it was shooting a gun in the air or driving drunk), call 911 and tell them to send a police officer immediately. You have rights. And the police can make sure your rights are respected.
- Take pictures - Document your injuries and your accident. Most people have cellphones with cameras. Take a few photos so there's no doubt later about exactly what happened.
- Talk to witnesses - If someone saw what happened, make sure you get their full name, address and phone number. That way you, the police, or insurance companies can get in touch with them later.
- Contact us - Our experienced accident lawyers know how to handle all sorts of accidents in Texas. From drunk driving accidents to fireworks injuries, our San Antonio attorneys can help you make things right.