Our Alabama Personal Injury & Wrongful Death Attorneys wish each of you a safe and enjoyable Fourth of July. Please celebrate responsibly, don’t drink and drive, and stay safe around water, whether it’s in the pool or on the boat.
Summer is officially upon us, and many people will be out on the roads driving during the weekend, while others may enjoy boating on the state’s many lakes or on the Gulf of Mexico. Some may choose to stay close to home and enjoy barbecues, swimming and personal fireworks.
Vehicle accidents: AAA estimates that about 39 million Americans will travel 50 miles or more from their home over the long weekend, USA Today reports. That’s actually down from 40 million last year, and the national auto group attributes that to the nearly $1 increase in gas from this time last year.
But while there may be fewer people on the roads, 39 million people is a large number, and in Alabama, which has major thoroughfares connecting several states, the traffic is sure to be busy. And with more traffic brings more opportunities for accidents. Regardless of the type of accident or the circumstances, they can be tragic. Even minor injuries sustained in a vehicle accident can be frustrating and take weeks to heal.
More serious injuries, such as deep bruising and broken bones, can take months to settle. And then there are the most serious injuries, including brain injuries and damage to other internal organs, some of which never allow the victim to recover. These injuries can send people to hospitals and rehabilitation centers for months on end, cost them their careers or ability to work and significantly affect their quality of life.
Other accidents, sadly, involve fatalities. And there will likely be fatal accidents this Fourth of July holiday. In 2009 in Alabama, there were 848 traffic fatalities, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. That’s down from 969 in 2008. In Tuscaloosa County, there were 36 in 2009, up from 34 in 2008.
Drunk driving accidents this holiday weekend are sure to happen as well. According to The Century Council, a non-profit group, there were 280 alcohol-impaired driving fatalities statewide in 2009, with 32 of them by drivers who were under 21.
Fireworks accidents: While many people, especially kids, love to set off fireworks around the Fourth of July, they can be dangerous. While it’s best to go to a public area to watch fireworks displays, if you are determined to set them off in your backyard, pay close attention.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, more than 7,000 people were treated for fireworks injuries in 2008 and seven people died. Nearly 60 percent of all injuries were to people younger than 20.
The CDC reported that fireworks accidents and defective fireworks caused 1,400 hand and finger injuries, 1,000 eye injuries and 900 leg injuries in a period from June 2/?p=1007 to June 2008.
Swimming pool injuries: During the long holiday weekend and throughout the summer months, children will likely clamor to play in personal swimming pools, community swimming pools, lakes and beaches. But all can be dangerous.
It only takes a few seconds for a small child to drown and in Alabama, about 20 die each year, according to statistics from the Alabama Department of Public Health.