As a mother of two working in the field of personal injury, it’s tricky to not be paranoid all the time. On a daily basis, even in my life outside of the office I see products, brands and companies that have been responsible for serious injury or death to at least one person, if not multiple victims.
And regardless of how many years of experience I have, every year there is at least one case that is unexpected and completely unforeseeable where, even with my own work experience, I’m shocked by how someone was hurt. Working in the area of personal injury can absolutely make you crazy trying to “make sure” everything is okay; that hazards are eliminated, everything is child-proofed, and I’m prepared for the worst. But the reality is, control is more or less an illusion and ultimately we must surrender or go mad. But even with a more zen approach of letting go, I believe there are things we can do to be a little safer, a little more aware of dangers that may not be so apparent.
1. Be aware of your surroundings.
No matter how safe you feel or how familiar you are with your surroundings, pay attention. We had a very unfortunate event earlier this week in our own city of San Francisco where a mother was the victim of a hit-and-run car accident in a neighborhood park. Sixty-one percent of dog bites occur at home or from a familiar dog. Many other unfortunate events like burns and trips and falls take place in the home or in the office. While we’d like to think there is still a time and place for letting our guard down, the facts indicate we must still be mindful in even the most familiar of places.
2. Use common sense.
It’s unbelievable how many cases I see on a regularly basis where common sense seems to be thrown out the window by convenience, small rationalizations (“just this once”), a bit of alcohol, or all of the above. Follow common sense and some accidents will be completely eliminated. More notable examples of what happens when common sense is alluded to can be found here.
3. Learn from your experiences.
As a teenager I was a passenger involved in a tragic car accident that took the life of a young child. I will not forget the anguish of the father responsible for watching his child that day nor the pain of the driver who would be haunted forever. Aside from the glaring reminder of how precious life is, that event forever embedded in my mind how unpredictable young children can be. To do this day while driving, if I see a child walking on the sidewalk (even attended), I slow down. If I’m with my own children, I’m extra attentive and always in arms reach near streets or parking lots, anticipating that they’re simply kids and cannot fathom the dangers of automobiles. Because in some cases, being extremely careful all the time is just worth it. Most of us have been through a life lesson or two that we can learn from.
4. Trust your intuition.
Your intuition, your gut, your instincts; whatever you call it. Most of us occasionally have urges or feelings requiring no explanation that guide is in making some decisions. Too often we don’t follow this instinctual guidance. Because we’re too busy or rushed…But personally I’ve never regretted trusting my intuition.
5. Report unsafe behaviors
Whether this be other strangers, friends or coworkers, it’s important. Sometimes it can be inconvenient or even uncomfortable to report the behaviors of others, but by doing so we’re protecting ourselves, and others and in some instances them as well. If you don’t feel comfortable reporting a coworker (or even your company), see if your company falls under the OSHA act and you can report it directly (and anonymously) to OSHA. And if you’re driving on the road, it’s equally important to report drunk drivers.
It’s inevitable that accidents will continue to happen. We cannot prepare for everything, nor protect everyone all the time. It’s part of the beauty and fragility of life and simply being human. If you have the unfortunate event of being involved in a personal injury accident or a loved one is killed or injured from an accident, get in touch with an experienced personal injury lawyer to walk you through your options.