Christmas is a time to celebrate friends and family. However, during the festivities, stress and alcohol can lead to reckless driving or other actions. Therefore, below are tips to prevent injuries during the holidays, and then tips for what you should do if you are involved in an accident due to someone else’s negligence during Christmas.
Tips for Avoiding Accidents and Injuries This Weekend
- When in doubt, get a designated driver. The wine and beer will be free-flowing at various festivities. Though you may only have one or two glasses, chances are that your senses are slowed and your judgment is impaired. Do not let pride or money prevent you from getting home safely.
- When driving, drive defensively. Unfortunately, this weekend there will be a lot of people on the road that do not head the advice listed above. Others may simply be driving recklessly due to stress or hurry. Be aware of other drivers, take your time, and leave early to beat traffic.
- Watch your step. Though much of the country is facing unseasonably warm weather, Minnesotans will still see temperatures below freezing and may see some precipitation. Watch out for icy steps or uneven sidewalks as you make your way to your destination.
- Remove distractions. Whether you are driving across town or simply crossing the street, put away your phone and pay attention to what you are doing. You might be driving in your lanes or crossing at the proper time, but you never know whether the people around you are paying attention. Therefore, you should be hyper-aware of your surroundings.
Steps to Take If You Are Involved in an Accident during Christmas Time
- Do not panic. You might be missing the first course of the big meal, but more importantly, take stock of what is going on around you. Are you injured? Are your passengers injured? What happened right before the accident?
- It is okay to check on the other driver, but do not apologize for an accident that was not your fault. Statements made during and immediately after the accident can be used against you, even an apology, which my be viewed as a statement against self-interest.
- Call the police. For insurance purposes, you need an accident report. Police officers can also de-escalate an argument between you and the other driver that may arise. Police officers can also ensure that you are safely away from other vehicles passing by.
- Notify your insurance company. Many injured drivers fear contacting their own insurance company because they are concerned that even if they are the non-negligent party in an accident, their rates might increase after a wreck. However, your insurance company may offer med pay, a type of insurance that can quickly assist with medical bills after an accident and before a settlement. This coverage may mean the difference between getting treatment or not for many people.
- Make an honest self-assessment. Speaking of injury, do not try to “wait and see” about your pain after an accident. The clock is ticking on treatment and if you wait too long, the insurance adjuster may argue that there is not a sufficient nexus to connect your claim of injury to the actual accident.
- If you suspect you sustained an injury, get medical attention. Even if you present at the emergency department after the accident, you still need to pursue treatment if you have continued pain. Once reached, the settlement will be final regardless of your financial ability to obtain treatment before negotiations. Moreover, those treatment records serve as evidence of the severity of your injury. If you allege significant back pain but fail to pursue testing and treatment, then you cannot sufficiently prove that you have back pain or that it is severe.
Hopefully, you can avoid getting into an accident over Christmas and other holidays. However, if you do and need help from experienced attorneys, please contact us for a free consultation.