The festive season is upon us – Christmas trees are going up, cars are packed and wine cellars are facing a foray of keen holiday goers. During the holiday period, accidents are one of the last things people think about. Unfortunately, they are much more common than you might expect.

In this article we briefly discuss some of the most common legal issues our clients encounter over the festive season.

Interaction of interstate laws

When travelling over the holiday period, there is one question lawyers will always ask if legal complications arise – where did it happen? If you have travelled interstate for your holiday, it is important to understand that States and Territories can have different rules in place about what you can and cannot do, including on the roads.

This may affect, among other things, your choice of legal representation as lawyers usually specialise in their resident State/Territory laws.

Driving over the holiday period

Whether it be on a weeklong road trip, travelling across town for Christmas lunch or a taxi ride from the airport to your hotel, motor vehicle accidents are among the most common accidents we are approached about over the holiday period.

In the ACT, the new motor accidents legislation has significant consequences for how you might seek compensation if you have been injured in a motor vehicle accident. As mentioned above, each State and Territory have different laws which determine what your entitlements are when injured on the roads.

AirBnB and hotel stays

We are also often asked about compensation when people are injured while staying in rental accommodation over the holiday period.  If you are injured during your stay at an AirBnB or hotel, you may find yourself experiencing mounting medical bills, and start looking at contracts, insurance policies and liability waivers. If you are injured through the negligence of another, through act or omission, you may be entitled to commence a claim for compensation depending upon the circumstances.

On the other hand, for AirBnB hosts, hotel owners and their neighbours, the New Year period can result in complaints about property damage and noise.

Christmas parties and other work celebrations

As the silly season approaches and work colleagues are keen to celebrate the end of a difficult year, employers face the difficult task of organising work celebrations that are fun and relaxing, but also appropriate for their workplace environment.

As work celebrations organised by employers are often considered to occur ‘in the course of employment’, any incident which gives rise to legal complications may have consequences for employers, employees and can even result in workers compensation or disciplinary action.

Working from home

2020 saw unprecedented changes in how workplaces operate, with many of us working from home or reduced hours in the workplace. While many of us are looking forward to a long relaxing break, others will still be working as usual or as part of a skeleton crew.

Any incidents that occur whilst working from home during the festive season may have legal consequences for you and your employer.

How can we help?

If you find yourself facing any of these problems now or are involved with any other legal complication, please contact our team on 02 6285 8000 or by email.