Every year, there are almost 6 million auto accidents in the United States. Over 20% of those accidents are caused by the weather (rain, snow, ice, sleet, fog, severe winds, etc). In the state of Maryland, we are at the peak of winter.
At Holzman & Associates, we help our clients negotiate settlements for injuries sustained in auto accidents. This time of year, we historically see an uptick in injuries caused by auto accidents in inclement weather. Our team wants you to be prepared for bad weather to help prevent an accident from occurring and guide you if you find yourself involved in an auto accident this winter.
HOW TO PREPARE FOR & PREVENT AUTO ACCIDENTS
The weather is out of our control, but we can do our best to be prepared. We encourage you to set a reminder this time of year to schedule a check-up with your local autobody shop. Now is the perfect time to get your oil and tires checked, replace worn down tires, and make sure your vehicle is overall running smoothly.
Once your vehicle is up to speed, we recommend making a checklist of items to store in your trunk or backseat in case of emergencies. Here is what to consider including in your emergency kit:
- A spare tire and tools to replace if needed
- Snow brush and ice scraper
- Windshield washer fluid
- Flashlight and batteries
- Reflective triangles
- Jumper cables
- First aid kit
- Phone charger
Check Weather Reports
Now that your emergency kit is prepared and stored away safely, the next step is to pay attention to the weather before heading out on the road. Even if the weather seems fine, it is good to get in the habit of checking the weather to see if any storms are predicted to pass by later in the day or evening. Pay attention to the temperature as well because freezing temperatures overnight can mean slippery ice, even if it is a beautiful sunny day.
Check Traffic Reports
In addition to weather, pay attention to road closures and traffic reports. Most navigation apps these days include features to see where accidents have occurred and if there is inclement weather. Most smartphones also include a feature to notify you of bad weather. All of these will serve as great resources for preparing and preventing auto accidents.
WHAT TO DO IF INVOLVED IN AN AUTO ACCIDENT
In the event that you find ourself in an auto accident, the first thing you should do no matter what is make sure that you and everyone else involved is safe and away from further harm. If possible, move away from traffic and find the safest spot possible before taking any other actions. If anyone has been injured and needs medical attention, you should then call 911 and request an ambulance. Now is also a great time to turn on your hazard lights, if possible, and set up any reflective triangles.
Once everyone is safe and the ambulance has been called, it is time to collect information about the accident for future reference. Take photos of any damage that has occurred and of the scene of the accident. Write down the address where the accident occurred, along with a description of the automobiles involved, including their make, model, year, and license plate number. You will also want to collect information from the other driver, including their name, driver’s license, auto insurance company name and policy number, and contact information. If there are witnesses, you will want to get their contact information as well. Witnesses can provide valuable testimony at a later date. Lastly, if the police are involved, take down the police officer’s name and badge number. And remember—do not discuss who is at-fault or admit that you have done anything wrong at the scene of the accident.
File a Claim
If no one was hurt in the accident, and you only need repairs done to your vehicle, then call your insurance company and file a claim yourself. They can help walk you through the process.
Contact Personal Injury Attorney
If you have been injured, contact your personal injury attorney as soon you can. Your personal injury attorney can help you open a claim with the other driver’s insurance company and can also communicate with your own insurance company to make sure you’re protected. You should not discuss your personal injuries with any insurance company yourself, not even your own insurance. More often than not, insurance companies will try to use what you say against you. An experienced personal injury attorney can help you with this.
For more than 75 years, Holzman & Associates, LLC has obtained substantial verdicts and settlements for injury victims throughout Maryland. Ask around about us! If you believe you are entitled to compensation, contact us at 410-539-4222 for your free consultation.