Now that it’s the middle of winter, you’ve probably gotten the hang of driving in the snow again. However, there are nearly 157,000 traffic accidents each year due to snow and ice-covered roadways. Nearly 117,000 of those accidents cause injuries. Oftentimes, accidents in the winter happen no matter how cautious you are. There are some preventative measures you can take to keep yourself and others safe, though. Read on to see what they are.
This may seem like a no-brainer, but many people don’t take the time to remove the snow from their cars before hitting the road. However, skipping this imperative step can lead to major consequences. If you don’t clear your front and rear windshields and all passenger windows, you can’t see well enough to avoid accidents. You need to be able to see when you back up, switch lanes, and make turns--not just when you’re driving forward. Get an automatic car starter or start your car early. You might have to brush away some snow and ice, but it will take much less time if your car has been running for a while.
This seems like another obvious tip, but once people grow accustomed to driving in winter weather, they tend to speed up. Your tires won’t grip the road as well in snow or ice, and it will take longer to brake, accelerate, and turn. It’s best to drive 45 mph or slower in snow or ice. This can give you more time to react or reduce the damage if you are in a collision.
Maintain Your Car
It’s especially important to maintain your car in the winter. Worn wiper blades can leave snow, ice, and dirt on your windshield and block your vision, and low tire tread will give you less control on roadways. Replace them and make sure everything else is working properly to avoid breakdowns. Other drivers will be more likely to hit you if you break down on the side of the road during a blizzard or storm because they won’t see you or won’t be able to stop in time.
Many people are tempted to look at their phones or adjust the radio, but not paying attention in inclement weather can cause accidents. Remember that your car won’t stop, swerve, or turn as quickly in snow and ice, so you need to watch the road and keep both hands on the wheel. It’s even a good idea to lower your heat to stay alert. You will also want to make sure that your car isn’t multi-tasking--if you try to brake and turn at the same time, you might lose control. Be sure to slow down while you’re still going straight when the roadways are slick before making a turn.
In an Accident?
Many times, winter accidents happen despite your best efforts. If you hit someone or someone hits you, be sure to move to a safe area, stop, and turn off your car. Make sure you aren’t injured before you try to get out of the driver’s seat. If you’re okay, get out and see if the other driver, passengers, or pedestrians are okay as well. If anyone is injured, call 911. If everyone is alright, you should also call the police to file a report. Then, exchange insurance information. If you can, take a few pictures of the damage while you’re at the scene.
Get a Car Accident Lawyer
If you, the other driver, passengers, or pedestrians were hurt in the accident, you may want to get a car accident Lawyer or personal injury Lawyer. A car accident Lawyer can advise you on your next steps. You may not think that you need a car accident Lawyer or personal injury Lawyer; however, even if no one is exhibiting any signs of injury right away, it doesn’t mean they won’t later. It isn’t a bad idea to see a doctor after you’ve been in an accident as well. You can even consult with a car accident Lawyer or personal injury Lawyers to see if you will need to take any action. If the weather isn’t safe, it’s best not to drive in it. However, taking these preventative measures this winter can help you avoid accidents when you have to go out.
Three weeks ago I was at a retail store and tripped over winter matting near the entrance. I fell and broke my wrist. Today an Insurance adjuster called me. He said I was responsible to look where I was walking but he offered me $5000.00 to help me out as I have been off work. I am on sick leave and have not lost any income. Is there any reason not to just take the money?
Plenty of Reason. Leaving aside what happened, and what you might be entitled to recover as a result of your injuries, it is always a good idea to consult with a Lawyer before taking a settlement proposed by an insurance company. Insurance adjusters work for Insurance companies and they do not approach a settlement based on what you are entitled to. They offer money based on the risk of what you might receive by way of an award. Generally, they will try and settle a claim or potential claim for as little as they reasonable can in order to close off a risk.
A Lawyer will work for you. Many Lawyers offer a free consultation. I find I ask a lot of questions and do a lot of listening during a consultation. I try to give my client an understanding of the legal issues arising in their circumstances, and what the options are going forward.
Assert your rights. Over the years I have come to understand that people almost always benefit from at least consulting with a Lawyer before trying to settle with an insurance company. There is a significant imbalance between a lone individual and a huge insurance company. A Lawyer has the knowledge to help level the playing field. In my experience insurers will see a greater risk when dealing with an injured person who is represented by a Lawyer. Greater risk to insurers leads to better settlements.
I was injured in a car accident which was not my fault more than 3 years ago. I have just learned that as a result of my injuries I will need surgery and may never be able to work again. Before learning this from my doctor I had believed my injuries were not that serious and I would fully recover. Can I sue the driver that hit me?
Limitations and their exceptions
That is a complicated question. Generally speaking, although there are exceptions, you may commence an action for damages in Ontario anytime up to 2 years after an event, or after you reasonably learned of the consequences of an event. If you know of the consequences of an event where you suffered injuries or losses, you generally lose your right to sue as of the second anniversary of the loss.
There are various exceptions to this rule. Recently, the Ontario Government has abolished limitation periods for victims of sexual assault.
Furthermore, limitations generally don’t apply to people under a legal disability, and that includes minors (people under the age of 18).There is also a legal doctrine of discoverability. Discoverability provides that a limitation period does not begin to run against a person until that person knew or ought to have known of a loss, and in some cases the extent or seriousness of a loss can be an issue.
What should you do?
The first thing you should do is get legal advice from a Lawyer as soon as you become aware that something has happened. There are other shorter limitation periods including notice periods which can be just a few days, arising in some circumstances. A Lawyer can give you advice and help you pursue your rights as appropriate.
Secondly, even if you think too much time has gone by, you should consult with a Lawyer. If circumstances provide an exception to the usual limitation periods, a Lawyer will be able to advise you of this fact and advocate on your behalf.
All cases are specific to their facts and the above information should not be relied upon to determine rights in particular circumstances. Lawyers often provide no obligation free and confidential consultations to prospective clients. So it is a good idea to seek out legal advice from a Lawyer if you have any doubt or questions about your rights.
I was a cyclist involved in a car accident. What are my rights?
In short, the same as those of a driver or passenger. Liability may be handled differently, but the cyclist maintains a right to claim against the at-fault driver and seek benefits from the applicable insurer. Your car insurance is meant to provide accident benefits if you're involved in a car accident. It does not matter whether you were actually driving a car. As long as you have car insurance, your accident benefits should kick in. If you don't have car insurance, the at-fault driver's insurance will provide accident benefits. Either way, you should be covered by a policy. If neither of you has insurance, there's still the motor vehicle accident fund which acts as a safety net in cases where insurance is not available.
Typically, there's an assumption that the cyclist was not at fault. This does not mean you can pedal around with no regard to surrounding traffic. You still have to be diligent and you still owe yourself an obligation to proceed with reason. Any contribution found on your behalf will reduce the value of your claim. You can be deemed contributorily negligent if you don't wear the proper protective gear, or if you don't abide by the rules of the road.
Seasonal changes in traffic will often give rise to increases in car accidents involving cyclist. A good portion of the driving population does not properly adapt to these changes. This causes drivers to make assumptions they shouldn't make: disregarding their blind spot, failing to keep track of cyclist in the bike lane, opening their doors without thinking of oncoming cyclist. Unfortunately, the injuries are often devastating. Even with protective gear, the force of direct impact may leave the cyclist with serious, life-changing and permanent injuries.
Need a Personal Injury Lawyer? Reach out to a licensed professional today and get a no-obligation consultation