Injuries and Property Damage Caused by Holiday Decorations

By Blume Forte Fried Zerres & Molinari on December 22, 2011

The winter holidays usually involve decorating plans including the use of candles, string lights, ornaments, and holiday scenes for the outdoors. As festive as holiday decorations are, they can also pose significant health risks to decorators, business owners, homeowners and their families, and, may cause property damage.

According to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), in November and December of 2010, over 13,000 people were treated in U.S. emergency rooms as the result of holiday decoration-related injuries, an increase from the 12,000 in 2008 and the 10,000 in 2007. In addition, between 2006 and 2008, there was an average of $18 million in property damage and four deaths per year as a result of Christmas tree-related fires. In that same time period, a total of approximately 130 deaths and $360 million in property losses and damage as the result of candle fires were reported to the CPSC.

The CPSC makes several suggestions for decorating safely, including:

Check for freshness when buying a live Christmas tree.

Set the tree up away from any heat sources.

Only buy artificial trees if labeled “Fire Resistant.”

Avoid ornaments or trimmings that are not child-safe.

Never leave burning candles unattended.

Place candles on a heat-resistant and stable surface.

Only use lights that have been tested by a nationally recognized lab, such as Underwriters Laboratories (UL).

Fires are a risk during the holidays, especially if decorating lights are defective. If you or a loved one has suffered burn, electrocution or other injuries as the result of defective holiday lights or decorations, it may be possible to pursue a negligence and/or product liability action to be compensated for your losses. Contact the experienced New Jersey defective consumer product attorneys< at Blume Forte to determine if your claim may have merit. Call (973) 635-5400 for a no-cost consultation.

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