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4 steps to take after a winter car accident

Vehicles handle differently on snow and ice compared dry pavement. As a result, there is an increased risk of an accident. In fact, the United States Department of Transportation’s Federal Highway Administration reports 24% of weather-related accidents occur on snowy, slushy, or icy leading to 1,3000 fatalities and an additional 116,800 injuries every year.

Should drivers respond differently to winter accidents compared to accidents at other times of year?

Drivers involved in accidents due to snowy, slushy, or icy conditions may need to respond differently. Here are four steps to take after an accident during inclement weather:

  1. Call the police. Police officers undergo extensive training on investigating traffic accidents and writing reports. Even if the other driver asks you not to call the police, alerting law enforcement after any type of car accident is usually a good idea. This is especially true if there was serious damage to any vehicle or if anyone was injured. It is also important to get a copy of the police report for your own records.
  2. Document the accident. Depending on the details, you may be able to pursue financial compensation from the driver who caused the accident. To boost your chances of recovering what you deserve, document the accident scene by taking photographs, obtaining the driver’s contact information, and talking to witnesses. The police report noted above may also prove helpful.
  3. Go to the doctor. Because car accidents are stressful events, your brain may release stress hormones to help you cope. These hormones may mask injury symptoms. Consequently, even if you feel fine, you should go to the emergency room and ask a doctor to examine you. Keep a copy of these records in case you choose to hold the other driver accountable for the crash.
  4. Protect yourself from additional harm. If you intended to go from your home to a car and then to another building, you may not be wearing weather-appropriate clothing at the time of your accident. In frigid temperatures even a short period of time can result in frostbite and other cold related injuries. To protect yourself from additional harm, put on warm clothing before exiting the vehicle or remain inside. Also, check your surroundings to be certain you do not sustain an injury in a slip-and-fall accident.

These steps can help you reduce the risk of additional injury while also better ensuring you have the information you need in the event you decide to hold the other driver accountable for the accident. If you choose to hold the driver accountable, it is important to keep in mind that there are often time limits. A failure to move forward within a reasonable period of time can result in a loss of the ability to receive financial compensation.