When the weather turns cold, the risk of an accident increases because of the dangerous conditions created by all of the snow and ice. Winter accidents can happen anywhere: in the car, on the ski slopes, or even when you are just walking down the sidewalk.
Ideally, you should take a proactive approach to prevent winter accidents from happening. But if you are in the unfortunate situation of being injured from an accident, then it’s important that you understand your legal rights for compensation.
Here are a few things to keep in mind so that you and your family stay safe in winter this year.
Most Common Types of Winter Accidents
These are some of the most common causes of accidents during the winter season:
- Slip and Fall:One misstep on the ice can cause you to come crashing down. Resulting injuries can include broken bones, back pain, sprained joints, bruising, and more. There is also a risk of a serious head injury.
- Car Accidents:Even if you have good tires, slick roads can make it challenging to drive. If an accident occurs, then it could result in whiplash, spinal injuries, broken bones, and more. Even if you are careful with winter driving, you could be injured due to another person’s negligent driving.
- Neck and Back Injuries:If you have a shovel in hand after a big snowstorm, then there is a potential risk of injury to your back and/or neck. Avoid lifting heavy snow with the shovel. Instead, use the shovel to push the snow to the side.
- Carbon Monoxide Poisoning:When the weather is cold outside, people are using their furnaces, heaters, and fireplaces more frequently. Since these are being used in closed spaces, there is a higher risk of carbon monoxide poisoning.
Winter Safety Tips to Prevent Winter Accidents
There are many different tips you can implement to keep yourself safe and reduce the risk of an injury during this time of year. Consider your lifestyle and normal activities, as well as any special occasions that might have you doing things outside of your typical routine. Then, be proactive about the following safety tips to reduce the likelihood of being injured:
Winter Driving Safety
Check your tires at the beginning of the season. Not only do you need to make sure that the tread is sufficient and the air pressure is optimal. Consider scheduling a full inspection of the vehicle since some of the most important components of the car can be under extra pressure in the colder weather.
Always have a safety kit in your car in case something happens. Warm clothes and blankets are essential, as well as jump leads, a flashlight, snacks, a shovel, and a first aid kit. Some people also like to keep kitty litter in the car because it can add extra traction if the road is slick.
Avoid driving at night if possible. Also, make sure that your cell phone is always charged so you can call for help if needed.
Winter Walking Safety
Having good shoes is critical, especially when you are walking outside on the ice. Not only do you need boots to keep your feet warm, but make sure the shoes have a good grip on the soles. It’s best to have footwear that is designed for icy and wet surfaces.
When you are walking outside, consider your pace. Plan extra time so you don’t feel rushed while walking in potentially dangerous conditions. If you are hurrying, then there is a higher likelihood that you will feel rushed, and a careless moment could result in an injury.
Take small steps while you are walking. Keep your knees bent and your hands out of your pockets. If you fall, you need to be sure that your hands are available to catch you in the moment.
Also, use ice melt or rock salt in the icy places on your sidewalks. Maintaining the walkways is important to protect your family, and it also helps you avoid the liability of other people being injured when visiting your home or business.
Winter Carbon Monoxide Safety
At the beginning of the season, it’s smart to have your heating system inspected to check for any potential issues. Make sure there is plenty of ventilation and that all indoor heating systems are working correctly.
Additionally, invest in a small carbon monoxide alarm and keep it turned on at all times. It can be as simple as a plug-in device that will check the air quality and notify you if the carbon monoxide levels are high. Remember: carbon monoxide doesn’t have a smell. So, you could be exposed without knowing, which can result in serious health consequences… and even death.
When you are warming up your car, don’t keep the vehicle running in a closed garage. The enclosed space can result in a build-up of carbon monoxide that could be fatal. Consider installing a carbon monoxide alarm in the garage as well.
Legal Assistance if Winter Accidents Occur
Keep in mind that you can be proactive about safety to prevent winter accidents, but you can’t always avoid the negligence of other people. If you have been injured, then it might be time to talk to a winter accident attorney to learn more about potential compensation for your medical bills, lost wages, and more.
Filing a personal injury claim after a winter accident helps with your recovery because you have the financial support to navigate the situation. Many times, it’s not necessary to file a lawsuit. Your attorney can work with the insurance provider directly to negotiate a settlement. Then, if a fair settlement can’t be reached, then you can consider your options to move forward with legal action (such as a lawsuit).
Keep in mind that if you have been injured, then don’t delay communication with a personal injury lawyer. The sooner you enlist the help of a legal professional, the faster you can get your life back on track again after the accident.
If you need legal advice, then Wormington & Bollinger is here to help. Contact us to learn more about how our team can assist with your case. We are always just a phone call away!