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How Holiday Decorating Can End in InjuryWhen it comes to holiday-related injuries, people may think of classic comedies such as “National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation.” While the accidents are played up for comedic effect in the movies, holiday injuries are real and no laughing matter for those who are hurt. According to one study, Christmas decorations injured around 173,000 people in the U.S. from 2007 to 2016. Recovering from an injury can put a damper on your holidays, which is why you should be careful when decorating in and around your house. In some cases, a faulty product may cause your injury, which could allow you to seek personal injury compensation from the manufacturer.

Outside Decorations

Decorating your house can be dangerous because you may be installing lights and hanging objects from high places. There is always a risk of electrocution and fire when handling electricity. Climbing up a ladder or onto your roof puts you in a precarious position, particularly if you are dealing with ice and snow. Falling from the top of even a one-story home may cause broken bones, head trauma, and other serious injuries. You can protect yourself while putting up outside decorations by:

  • Waiting for a day with clear weather
  • Removing snow and ice from surfaces
  • Replacing strings of lights that have exposed wires and broken bulbs
  • Testing your ladder to make sure it is stable

Indoor Decorations

The largest decoration hazard inside your home is likely your Christmas tree. Whether you have a real or artificial tree, it can injure you if it falls on you or catches on fire. Broken ornaments can cause cuts, and leaving small ornaments or hooks in the reach of young children could be a choking hazard. Illuminating your tree with lights once again brings risks related to electricity. You can protect your family against indoor decoration injuries by:


Auto-Brewery Syndrome Can Affect BAC TestAs odd as it may sound, it is possible for someone to ferment alcohol in their gut without having had any alcohol to drink. It is a rare condition known as auto-brewery syndrome or gut fermentation syndrome. People with this syndrome can be falsely suspected of driving under the influence of alcohol because a blood alcohol concentration test will give an inaccurately high reading. If you can prove that you have auto-brewery syndrome, you may be able to get your DUI charges dismissed, but this defense rarely applies.

How It Happens

People develop auto-brewery syndrome because of yeast or bacteria that grow in their gastrointestinal system – the same type of yeast that is used to ferment alcohol. Auto-brewery syndrome is most commonly diagnosed in people who have other conditions, such as diabetes, obesity, Crohn’s disease, and short bowel syndrome. Auto-brewery syndrome can cause the same symptoms as alcohol intoxication, such as:

  • Dizziness
  • Fatigue
  • Loss of coordination
  • Vomiting
  • Belching
  • Disorientation

Unlike with consuming alcohol, a person with auto-brewery syndrome cannot reasonably predict when these symptoms may occur. Physicians may treat the syndrome by prescribing anti-fungal medicines and recommending that the patient goes on a low-carbohydrate diet.


Divorcees Must Divide Debts Along with PropertiesA couple in a marriage often must share the good and the bad. The same concept extends to the division of property during divorce. Just as divorcees in Illinois are promised an equitable share of marital properties, they also must take on an equitable share of their marital debt. Couples with low amounts of debt may be able to divide it with little arguing or even repay the debts before the divorce. They may have a greater disagreement if faced with large debts, such as home mortgages, credit card bills, and student loans.

What Is Marital Debt?

As with marital properties, any debts that you incur during your marriage are assumed to be marital debts. Debts created by one person before your marriage are nonmarital debts unless the other spouse agreed to share liability for the debt. If you are unsure whether a debt is marital, you should check your agreement with your creditor to see whether both of your names are on it.

How to Divide the Debt

An equitable division of debt does not mean you have to divide it equally between each other. The law requires you to divide the debt in a way that is fair to both sides, which may be influenced by factors such as:


When Does Workers’ Compensation Cover Workplace Illnesses?Sicknesses have a way of spreading around the workplace, due to the close proximity of co-workers and difficulty in killing all of the germs that can contaminate common areas. Communicable diseases such as influenza are rarely a reason to file a workers’ compensation claim. It is difficult to attribute the illness to your work, and using sick days will cover most of the cost to you. However, there are more serious illnesses that could prevent you from working for weeks or months and require hospitalization and expensive care. For some workers, the threat of illness at their workplace allows them to claim workers’ compensation benefits.

Occupational Disease

A serious illness that you contract from work may be an occupational disease, which workers’ compensation insurance will cover. For instance, Legionnaires Disease comes from bacteria that may contaminate a workplace, and nasty viruses can spread from person-to-person. Most occupational diseases do not come from viruses or bacteria but from long-term exposure to hazardous conditions, such as:

  • Airborne contaminants
  • Radiation poisoning
  • Lead poisoning
  • Loud working conditions

These workplace hazards can cause chronic conditions, such as respiratory diseases and cancer. An illness from a virus or bacteria can also cause permanent damage if the symptoms are severe.


Traffic Fatalities Declining in Most Statistical CategoriesThe National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) recently reported that 36,560 people were killed as a result of motor vehicle accidents in the U.S. in 2018. While any amount of traffic deaths is tragic, the 2018 number was actually a 2.4 percent decrease from 2017. Though not always steady, the number of motor vehicle fatalities reported each year has decreased by almost 18 percent since 1975. The fatality rate per 100 million vehicle miles traveled (VMT) is a third of what it was in 1975, which is more impressive when you consider that the annual VMT has more than doubled since then. In other words, Americans are driving more than ever and still decreasing the number of traffic deaths. There are other findings from the NHTSA report that are worth exploring.

Why the Decrease?

There are several explanations for why the rate of traffic fatalities has decreased in the last 40 years:

  • There have been effective public awareness campaigns about wearing safety belts and avoiding impaired driving.
  • Enforcing traffic laws, such as tickets for not wearing a safety belt, has discouraged the risky behavior.
  • Vehicles are better designed to avoid accidents and protect occupants in the event of a crash.
  • Emergency response systems and medical technology have improved, saving more lives.

Even with an overall decline in fatalities, there are clusters of years when the number of motor vehicle deaths has increased. For instance, the number of fatalities increased by 8.4 percent in 2015 and 6.5 percent in 2016. One possible explanation could be the rising use of handheld digital devices, which increased distracted driving.

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