Minnesota winters are some of the harshest in the whole country, with shockingly low temperatures and lots of snow. Many states are completely shut down with their infrastructure paralyzed if they get a few inches of the fluffy stuff, but Minnesotans are resilient; we don’t stay inside all winter long waiting for spring! Regardless of the weather, we still have to get out there and live our lives. For most of us, that means winter driving is inevitable.
The Danger of Driving in a Minnesota Winter
Long, dark nights coupled with snow and ice can become dangerous for everyone on the road when a driver is reckless or distracted. Even those of us with the best intentions can’t be guaranteed a safe commute in treacherous driving conditions. Despite that reality, many of us take our safety on the road for granted until something happens that shakes our sense of security. This often comes in the form of a frightening, injury-causing car accident. The shock of a car accident is made even worse by what comes after: you lose wages from missing work, you’ll have countless doctors’ appointments, and your injuries may alter the course of your life.
Motor vehicles can be dangerous to operate, especially when you’re on the road with other drivers who may be inexperienced or distracted. There’s only so much you can do to protect yourself. If you are injured because of another driver’s actions, a Minneapolis car accident lawyer can help you obtain compensation for your medical bills, pain and suffering, and lost wages.
Here’s what to do when you’re injured in a winter auto accident.
Get Yourself to Safety Quickly
On icy roads, a two-car accident is more likely to turn into a huge pileup as other drivers fail to stop in time. Move your car to the shoulder if possible and stay in your vehicle until assistance arrives. You don’t want to leave yourself prone to being hit by another driver who isn’t paying attention.
Contact Emergency Services to Address Injuries
If you’re injured, don’t delay treatment for any reason. You can deal with your damaged vehicle and the insurance companies once you’ve been seen by a doctor and are cleared to go home. Car accident injuries often become more noticeable as time goes on, so don’t ignore the pain or discomfort you’re feeling and just hope it will go away.
As you’re healing, make sure to take things slowly. Your mobility may be affected by your injury, and you don’t want to fall victim to slippery sidewalks or snowy steps. Your injury could worsen if you slip and fall.
Filing a police report may also be a good idea because it serves as reliable documentation later on. Only speak to the police about the accident, though – don’t place any blame and keep your interactions with the other driver to a minimum.
Collect Documentation and Evidence for Your Case
As previously stated, a police report is a great first piece of documentation of your accident; you should always request a copy for your records. In addition, try to collect the following:
- The other driver’s address/phone number, license number, and insurance information
- Contact information for witnesses
- Photographs of the accident scene, all vehicles involved, and your injuries
- A record of the road conditions (improperly maintained icy streets, for example) that may have contributed to the accident
When you notify your insurance company of the accident, do not give any recorded statement without first consulting an attorney. Otherwise, the information you provide may come back to hurt your case. That’s because when you’re shaken up you tend to have a harder time thinking clearly about the event that just transpired.
Promptly Contact a Minneapolis Car Accident Attorney
The average motorist doesn’t know much about the ins and outs of the insurance industry – and why would you? You pay your premium every month and have been told you’ll be covered in the case of an auto accident. But auto insurance companies do use certain strategies to minimize their expenses when you’re injured in an accident, even when they should be protecting and supporting you.
Before you accept compensation from anyone, hire an attorney who can advise you of your best legal options. You may very well be entitled to more compensation than insurance companies or the other driver will offer you to make their problem go away.
Your attorney must establish liability for the accident in order to seek compensation for the responsible party. Sieben Edmunds Miller has extensive experience with the process. Our Minneapolis personal injury lawyers have years of experience helping accident victims who have been injured by an uninsured or underinsured motorist. We know all about Minnesota auto accident laws and how they’ll apply to your case. If you’d like to work with an auto accident personal injury lawyer in Minneapolis who has local experience – and lots of it – give us a call at (651) 323-2464 or contact us online.