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It's fall y'all, which means festivals and, possibly, injuries

Are you one of many West Virginia residents who jump on the 'sweater weather' bandwagon as soon as it arrives? Throughout the state, there are myriad opportunities to take in the splendor of fall foliage as it bursts into color over the Blue Ridge Mountains and other hills of Appalachia. Perhaps, you start planning your fall festival before summer has ended.

Oktoberfest, apple butter festivals and blue grass concerts galore make West Virginia a prime location for autumn fun. There can be downsides to fall festivals as well. You might wind up spending a lot more money than you'd planned. You might also be at great risk for a motor vehicle collision or personal injuries because many festivals make alcoholic beverages available, which typically increases the number of drunk driving accidents in the surrounding areas.

Make your fall festival outing as safe as possible

There are several things you can do to improve fall festival safety. As for drunk driving, if you're driving, it's up to you to make responsible (and legally correct) choices. Whether you're traveling with a group of friends or as a family with children in tow, the following list includes helpful tips to keep everyone in your group safe as can be:

  • Making sure children carry a contact number for your cell phone helps reunite you more quickly if you happen to get separated at the festival. Many kids know their parents' cell phone numbers by heart but might panic if they become lost and not remember it when needed.
  • Avoid food poisoning by scanning the food vending area to look for evidence that vendors are meeting health regulations, such as having a hand-washing station nearby as well as working refrigerators. Vendors should also have certificates on display.
  • Especially in concert or food vendor areas, there are often electrical cords and other ground hazards near or in walkways. Trip and fall injuries are common at autumn festivals.
  • There should be plenty of water available at your festival of choice. If you are planning on imbibing with a cold German-style beer or other alcoholic beverage, it's a good idea to remember to eat and to drink lots of water as well.

While you can be alert and cautious as you stroll the grounds of your favorite fall festivals, there's not much you can do about other people's choices or actions. If another festivalgoer downs one too many beers then gets behind the wheel to drive, you might be the unlucky person who gets hit as you exit the parking lot.

Recovering from injuries

It's understandable that tripping over something that shouldn't have been on the ground or suffering injury in a motor vehicle collision on your way home might ruin your fall festival fun. If you sprain your ankle or suffer blunt force trauma injuries in a collision, you'll likely have to take time off work to recover. Such incidents often cause post-injury financial stress that festivalgoers are not prepared to meet.

West Virginia law states that recovering victims can seek financial accountability against anyone whose negligence was a causal factor toward their injuries. In fact, many accident victims file injury claims and wind up receiving court-awarded compensation for damages that helps them pay medical bills and offset other expenses related to their injuries.

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