Christmas injuries and work parties

Wednesday 27 November 2019

The silly season is almost upon us, meaning it is almost time to celebrate with a BBQ; watch Home Alone, the Grinch and National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation; visit the Myer Christmas windows and listen to “All I Want for Christmas” by Mariah Carey (on repeat, naturally).

While this is a time for family, friends, fun and good food, it is also a time when holiday mishaps occur.

What you don’t want for Christmas

Every year there are countless stories across the world of people ending up in hospital because of a seasonal injury:

  • A 36 year old man was putting up Christmas decorations when he looked up and sneezed, accidentally swallowing a drawing pin.
  • A 4 year old girl was found with a metal bell in her ear. She told the medic that she wanted to “hear jingle bells”.
  • A 32 year old male danced too vigorously at an end of year party, twisting and spraining his ankle.
  • A 65 year old woman was attacked by insects that emerged from her synthetic tree when she took it out of the box.

While these injuries seem bizarre, studies do show that personal injuries are more likely during the holiday period than any other time of year.

In Australia last year, five people were injured because of a remote control car. Many injure their backs, knees and shoulders from backyard cricket – either from a winning spin bowl or playing too many overs on Christmas Day. A number of Australians were also admitted to hospital with injuries sustained due to jet skis and boat propellers.

The office party

The lead-up to the holiday break is often the most challenging period of the year, and with the pressure to meet tight deadlines and complete projects, injuries at work can occur.

When the work is finally done, the opportunity to blow off steam at the Christmas party is tempting – but be warned – work parties are a haven for potential injuries.

If you are injured at a work event, whether at the work premises, an external venue, or on the way to/ from the venue, you may have a right to bring a claim for your injury because it happened ‘in the course of employment’.

However, if you continue to celebrate after the employer sponsored event officially concludes or if you are engaging in unsafe behaviour, then you may not be covered.

Injuries that are covered can be physical and/ or psychological, and benefits are claimed through your employer’s insurer, WorkCover.

If you have been injured at work or ‘in the course of employment’, it is important to lodge a WorkCover claim as soon possible. We do not need to show that anyone is at fault for the injury to claim entitlements. 

For more information, speak directly to one of our friendly lawyers on (03) 9321 9988.

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