Stay Safe Over the Holiday Weekend

Independence Day holiday weekend

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo recently announced that the state was ending most coronavirus restrictions in time for the Independence Day holiday weekend. California, a similar move at about the same time.

Coronavirus vaccines and protective measures have reduced this disease to a few pockets, mostly in overseas countries.

But other risks, which most of us haven’t worried about for far too long, are taking the place of COVID-19.

If you employ a few precautions, this July 4th might be the safest and most fun one your family has experienced.

If things go sideways, you can rely on a New York personal injury attorney to help you come back strong.


Almost 75 percent of fireworks-related Emergency Room visits happen between late June and late July.

Nearly all of these injuries involve serious burns, mostly to the hand and/or face. Since most of these incidents occur in semi-rural areas, the nearest hospital is usually several minutes further away than it is in the city.

These few minutes could be the difference between a serious injury and a catastrophic wound.

Generally, fireworks-related burns require extensive, and expensive, treatment at regional burn centers.

Even after doctors and physical therapists complete their work, the physical and emotional scars remain.

Legally, these cases are much different than they were ten years ago. Back then, firework injury victim/plaintiffs had a hard time obtaining compensation, unless they showed that the fireworks were defective.

But a 2011 New York Court of Appeals case eliminated a defense commonly known as “the product is what it is” defense.

Essentially, these product makers must now show that a safer alternative was unavailable.

Water Safety

Collisions are the leading cause of boat-related accidents. The force of a collision could seriously injure both operators and passengers.

Boats generally don’t have seat belts, airbags, or other safety restraint systems. Furthermore, most boat operators are in the open.

Steel and plastic cocoons do not protect them. Therefore, even in a relatively low-speed collision, many operators bang their head on steering wheels and suffer other such injuries.

Collision-related head injuries are particularly difficult to diagnose and treat.

Doctors often mistake initial symptoms, such as disorientation, with shock from the accident. Additionally, the brain is very adept at concealing its own injuries.

Many head injury victims quite honestly “feel fine.” So, unless victims see collision specialists, their head injuries often go undiagnosed.

Boat collisions also often cause man-overboard drownings.

In the noise and chaos following an accident, these victims might be below the waves for several minutes before anyone notices they are missing.

On the Road

Many people plan to drive this weekend, many people plan to drink, and many people will do both these things at once.

To hopefully stem the tide, New York City-area law enforcement agencies plan to set up several sobriety checkpoints in and around the Big Apple.

Yet despite these efforts, alcohol-related wrecks will almost certainly kill or seriously injure many people over the three-day weekend.

If the tortfeasor (negligent driver) was charged with DUI, the negligence per se rule could apply. Tortfeasors are liable for damages as a matter of law if:

  • They violate safety laws, and
  • These violations substantially cause injury.

Usually, the negligence per se rule applies even if the tortfeasor “beats” the DUI in criminal court.

There’s a difference between intoxicated and impaired.

Most people are intoxicated after three or four drinks. Impairment, however, begins at the first drink. Driving while impaired violates a driver’s duty of care.

This duty requires motorists to be at their best when they get behind the wheel.

Additionally, non-commercial drivers must avoid accidents when possible and drive defensively. Evidence of alcohol impairment includes:

  • Bloodshot eyes,
  • Unsteady balance,
  • Slow reflexes, and
  • Slurred speech.

To obtain compensation, victim/plaintiffs must establish negligence, or a lack of care, by a preponderance of the evidence, or more likely than not.

This circumstantial evidence could also establish third-party liability.

Bars, restaurants, and other commercial alcohol vendors in New York are financially responsible for damages if they sell alcohol to a visibly intoxicated person who later causes a car wreck.

We sincerely hope everyone has a great time celebrating freedom this weekend.

For a free consultation with an experienced New York personal injury attorney, contact Napoli Shkolnik PLLC. We handle these matters on a nationwide basis.