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I Tripped Upon a Midnight Clear...

View profile for Paul Fox

Beneath the mistletoe, carols, chestnuts and turkey there lurks a thousand hidden dangers – factor in the infamous British capacity for ale and December makes for a bumper crop of PI cases.

One survey of Christmas accidents found 142 injuries from not removing the pins from new shirts, 4 broken arms from cracker-pulling accidents, 18 serious burns from trying on a new jumper while smoking and at least 5 injuries from out-of-control Scalextric cars.

Alas, the fireside glow is not necessarily restricted to the hearth: in 2011/2012 faulty fairy lights caused an estimated 20 fires, while Christmas trees, decorations and cards were responsible for 47 house fires. It’s tempting to welcome the trend for virtual entertainment, since it is considerably harder to injure oneself with an iPad than with a new set of golf clubs.

In an attempt to limit the number of more serious accidents, agencies such as Addaction and the ambitiously-named Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents have issued sombre guidance – and rather sweetly the NHS seems to consider ‘excitement’ a key cause of Christmas calamity.

But it’s not just PI lawyers for whom the holidays will not necessarily be a rest. The Christmas break can bring strain to families who may need urgent legal advice from family lawyers on matters such as contact disputes – and sadly there will still be those prepared to get behind the wheel after a festive drink.

With the developments in legal information technology we’ve seen in the past two or three years, Christmas need no longer be a ‘shut down’ period from which lawyers and litigation support partners must hurriedly recover in the bleary weeks of January. With innovations such as 24-hour access to shared secure documentation and developments in eDiscovery, eDisclosure and digital bundle technology, it is possible to ensure that unavoidable work can be undertaken over the holiday with minimal anxiety – and that the New Year brings a smooth and efficient return to work.

In the meantime, all at Legastat wish our clients and partners a peaceful, merry and accident-free Christmas – and we look forward to working together in the coming year.