What to Do if You Get Into an Accident in Winter Conditions
Winter is nearly here, which means that your chances of getting into an accident on the road are increased due to harsher weather. Even in parts of California, residents experience snow, rain, ice and other wintery weather that makes it much more difficult to drive. Before going out on the road during the winter, it’s crucial to find out what to do if you get into an accident in winter conditions.
Riverside, California personal injury lawyers Heiting & Irwin have over four decades of experience assisting clients with personal injury. We have retrieved more than $400 million for our clients, and we’ll work hard to get you the settlement that’s rightfully yours.
Causes of Car Accidents During the Winter
Different types of winter weather can lead to you getting into a motor vehicle accident and suffering from an injury – or causing injuries to others. You could lose control of your car and end up damaging your property or someone else’s as well. Every year, 24% of weather-related car crashes happen on slushy, snowy or icy pavement, and 15% occur during sleet or snowfall, so it’s important that you stay vigilant while behind the wheel.
During the winter, one of the top road hazards is ice. If you’re driving and you see an icy patch coming up, then it’s best to coast over it instead of speeding up or braking to try to avoid it. Jerking the steering wheel around could lead to the car spinning around, so simply steer the way your tires are naturally going to attempt to get or maintain control of your vehicle.
If it’s been snowing, then you could get stuck, especially if you don’t have four-wheel drive and/or chains on your tires. If you get stuck and another vehicle doesn’t see you, they could end up crashing into you. By driving in the tracks that other cars have made for you or on roads that have already been plowed, you’re going to be much safer and less likely to get into an accident.
Extreme winter weather conditions can also cause trees to collapse. Other hazards that have been blown into the road are another issue. Driving at or below the speed limit and avoiding areas with a lot of trees or debris is critical during the winter.
Low visibility is another concern during the wintertime, because if you can’t see where you’re going, you’re more likely to hit another car or an object on the road. Fog and road spray in the air can make it much tougher to see what’s in front of you when you’re driving. Keeping your windshield wiper fluid full, will allow you to spray any residue off your windshield and stay safer on the road. Additionally, use of low beams if there is fog, is critical as they will provide greater visibility and less reflection off the fog.
What to Do If You Get Into an Accident
If you do get into an accident due to winter weather conditions, the first thing you should do is pull over to a safe spot, if you can. You don’t want to stay on the road, especially if there is a chance of other vehicles crashing into you. If you’re in certain areas, this might mean driving a little bit – and making sure the other driver involved is following you – to ensure you are both out of harm’s way and that you can properly exchange information. If you can’t move your vehicle, get out of harm’s way as quickly as possible. Get assistance to do so, if needed.
Once you get out of the car, and are in a safe place, ask the other driver for their identification and insurance information. Take photographs of the scene of the accident, including the damage to your vehicle and the other vehicle. Also, take photos of the damage to your personal belongings and snap a picture of the other driver’s license plate. Ask anyone who saw what happened for their contact information just in case you need to follow up later on for more information. If they will give you a short statement of what they saw, great!
Then, call law enforcement to tell them about the accident and generate a police report. It’s also a good idea to check if any cameras were around that may have recorded what happened. Write down everything that you remember leading up to the accident so you don’t forget any crucial details.
Figure out a way to get to a doctor as soon as possible once you’ve wrapped up everything at the scene of the accident. Use the ambulance if needed. Do not be embarrassed to get help if you are hurt. A snowplow may have to dig you out or a tow truck may have to take your car – you don’t need to wait. Get medical evaluation right away.
While you’re getting checked medically, get a full check-up, possibly including X-rays. You want to make sure you didn’t suffer from any internal or unapparent injuries. Follow your doctor’s orders as closely as possible, which could mean getting prescription medicine or going to specialists for help. The more seriously you take your recovery, the better off you’ll be – in every sense. Then, get a lawyer.
If the other driver’s insurance company calls to take a statement or to offer you a settlement, report this to your attorney. Don’t give the other driver’s insurance details about the accident. If you haven’t done so yet, hang up and call an experienced personal injury lawyer for help.
How a Personal Injury Lawyer Will Assist You
A personal injury lawyer will help you get compensation for your medical bills, your loss of wages if you had to take off work, compensation for loss of ability to work or earn future wages if you can’t work, damage to your car and your personal belongings, pain and suffering, and other money to cover expenses you’ve had to pay. While you are recovering, your lawyer can collect your medical records, footage of the accident if it’s available, witness statements, and any other information you need to make your case stronger.
Additionally, a personal injury lawyer will negotiate with the insurance company to ensure you are satisfied with your settlement. Keep in mind that, even if the accident was partly your fault, you could still be entitled to compensation.
The best part is that your personal injury lawyer won’t ask you for a dime unless they win your case. Then, they will take an agreed-upon commission for the hard work they’ve done for you. It’s a win-win situation with the lawyers taking all the risk involved.
Contact Heiting & Irwin for Help
If you got into a car accident due to winter weather conditions and hope to recover compensation from your accident, then it’s time to find an experienced and highly-rated personal injury lawyer to represent you. Heiting & Irwin are here for you. We have dealt with many personal injury cases and will work hard to get you the settlement that you deserve. Contact us online or call us at 951-682-6400 to initiate your case now.