For most people, Christmas time is a time to relax and catch up with family and friends… for lawyers, it can be the busiest time of the year, writes Legal Practice Director, Jeffrey Garrett.
Deaths in the family
It seems we all have family stories of elderly grandparents or aunts and uncles who defy time and illness to “hang on” until after Christmas. It is amazing how some terminally ill people can condition themselves to stay around for that one last Christmas with their loved ones! It is nice that families have that last memory of Xmas with their departed family member or friend.
Christmas can also be a time of unexpected accidents or illnesses that lead to someone passing away, leaving the family to deal with the funeral arrangements during holiday time. The predicted heatwave conditions in Northern NSW and QLD over summer may also cause a spike in fatalities and there are studies which confirm this.
Law offices are usually very busy when they reopen after Christmas dealing with grieving families who have lost loved ones over the Christmas break. Many family members panic due to most services being closed over Christmas and are anxious about what they need to do when a family member passes away.
Sometimes they need to find out what is in a person’s Will to see if there are any wishes about burial or cremation. Family members stress over bills that might be payable, when in reality, all companies and utilities are very understanding when it comes to someone passing away unexpectedly.
This is one of the main reasons why we stay open during the Christmas period so that we can deal with any queries and assist families or executors. For any urgent enquiries just ring our Freecall number 1800 621 071.
Divorce or separation
Unfortunately for many families, the holiday period and extra time spent at home with your spouse and family members can be a recipe for disaster in terms of relationships!
The combination of everyone in the family being at home and in close quarters for several weeks, as well as the addition of the “in-laws” and other people coming to stay for the Christmas holidays can lead to unusual stress on relationships. If financial issues are bubbling away on the domestic front, this can also lead to some explosive outcomes, especially if people have had a little too much to drink.
Once again, legal offices and particularly Family Lawyers are in high demand following the Christmas break. Many Family Lawyers take extra time off over Christmas in order to have their own time off, but in reality the first two weeks after the Christmas break are some of the busiest times. We are open over the Xmas break for any family law enquiries. Click here to connect to our Family Law website for further information.
The combination of travel, excessive alcohol consumption and the usual Christmas traffic snarls often lead to higher numbers of car accidents and other misadventures causing serious injuries.
The most common accidents that people have at Christmas involve traffic accidents or injuries sustained involving some type of vehicle (including boats and jet-ski’s). The extra traffic and movement of people generally also leads to a higher rate of injuries to swimmers, pedestrians and cyclists.
Outside of vehicle and road accidents, people also receive a multitude of serious injuries from various recreational activities which they would not normally undertake other than when they are on holidays! Some of these injuries may arise using new Xmas toys.
Compensation Lawyers also have a very busy post-Christmas period when people return from holidays or are discharged from hospital after spending the majority of their festive season in an orthopaedic ward. Luckily for many people, they are covered by some form of insurance or have the ability to bring a claim for damages for the injuries that they have suffered. There are strict time limits in relation to some types of claims so it is best to consult one of our experienced personal injury lawyers as soon as possible to know where you stand. Just call the 24/7 Injury Hotline on 1800 621 071. We have experienced lawyers who are available over the holiday season to assist injured members of the public. Click here to connect to our personal injuries website page for further information.
Travelling to unfamiliar destinations and enjoying a little too much Christmas cheer can often lead to people behaving in a way that is most unusual for them.
It is quite common for people enjoying the festive season to find themselves on the wrong side of the law and facing an arrest by the Police. Most holiday destinations have a stepped-up Police program in relation to revellers and there are many public offences which people find themselves committing which would not normally be the case had they been at home. The increased Police vigilance usually leads to arrests for common offences such as drinking alcohol in public, drunk and disorderly, urinating in a public place (indecent exposure), affray (getting involved in fights), assaults and failing to obey a Police direction. The excess intake of alcohol also usually leads to driving offences including driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs, dangerous driving, speeding offences and domestic violence breaches.
Christmas and New Year revellers also attend many concerts and music festivals which always attract the attention of police.
Criminal Lawyers are obviously kept very busy over the Christmas break and often find themselves appearing in Court at a time when most legal professionals have their offices closed. The Attwood Marshall Criminal Service operates 24/7 – just ring our Freecall number 1800 621 071 at any time and the operator will transfer you to a Criminal Lawyer or have them contact you urgently.
Alternatively, Special Counsel Richard Smith can be called directly on his mobile 0416 306 720.
Merry Xmas from Attwood Marshall Lawyers
We wish all of our clients and colleagues a very Happy and Safe Christmas. If you are caught up in any of the situations listed above, we are only a phone call or email away from helping you. Details of our office closures over Christmas are set out below but for any urgent matters, you simply need to free call 1800 621 071 and we will get back to you as soon as we can.