Winter Can Increase the Likelihood of a Personal Injury Accident
Living in Alberta means dealing with winter weather. Snow and ice present many challenges, whether we drive, walk, or enjoy the outdoors.
It only makes sense to take precautions at this time of the year but, invariably, accidents happen, and injuries can have a devastating and long-term effect on your life. Slip and falls on icy sidewalks, motor vehicle collisions and mishaps while enjoying outdoor activities are the most likely causes of injuries. According to the Injury Prevention Centre, injuries cost Albertans $7.1 billion each year.
Do you know how to stay safe? And what happens if you suffer a life-changing injury? Your livelihood could be threatened and leave you unable to get the treatment you need. At Kantor LLP, we are here to help you when you have been hurt because of someone else’s negligence.
Take Care When Driving in Winter
It is no secret that snow and ice can significantly increase the chance of getting into a traffic accident. The RCMP reports that Canadian insurance providers see a 49 percent increase in collision-related claims every December and January. Black ice, rapidly changing weather along with snow, sleet and freezing rain can dramatically hinder traction. According to Transport Canada, snow and ice are more slippery at 0C than at -20C or below.
Bridges and overpasses can be a forgotten hazard. Cold air will surround the surface of a bridge or overpass from above and below, and they will ice over quicker than the road. That is because the road only loses heat from its surface. The ground below helps trap heat.
There is also the problem of reduced visibility.
Accidents happen every day, but you can make roads safer and keep yourself from unnecessary harm. Consider these winter safety tips:
Prepare your vehicle by installing winter tires and carrying a safety kit with food and water, candles, blankets, booster cables, tow straps, a flashlight, a shovel, and sand for traction.
Bring a fully charged cell phone in case of emergency.
- Practise winter driving techniques.
- Check road conditions before leaving and if they are hazardous, reconsider your plans.
- Clear snow and ice from your vehicle and ensure you have washer fluid.
- Give yourself extra time to get to your destination.
- Take extra caution when passing other vehicles.
- Drive sober and pay attention to the road.
- Wear a seatbelt.
Being involved in a traffic accident can be traumatic at any time of the year, even if there were no injuries. After an accident, you need to consider your options. If you are unsure what steps to take, consult our accident guide, found here.
Winter Sporting Activities Can Present Hazards
Albertans can often be found outdoors, taking advantage of the many enjoyable diversions the province offers, especially during the coronavirus pandemic, which has limited our entertainment options.
We have world-class resorts and local hills for skiers and snowboarders. Of course, there is also plenty of places to ice skate and sled.
Alberta also has thousands of kilometres of snowmobile trails to explore, both groomed and ungroomed, including Whitecourt, considered one of the top sledding destinations in Western Canada.
There is an implied risk when undertaking any activity, and you must assume some responsibility for your actions. For example, if you are tobogganing, you should do it on designating hills. Calgary has a list where tobogganing is permitted.
Each year thousands find themselves in emergency rooms after tobogganing, skiing or snowboarding. When taking part in such activities, the Canadian Ski Patrol recommends using an approved helmet to decrease the chance of a severe head injury.
Being aware of your surroundings is essential when sledding, snowboarding or skiing. Make sure someone is with you, and the hill is safe from hazards or obstructions.
Snowmobiling Can Be Fun but Dangerous
While it is a fun activity, snowmobiling can be dangerous. Statistics Canada has reported that 73 Canadians die in snowmobile accidents annually every year. The majority – 80 percent – of those fatalities involved a single vehicle, and in almost half, the snowmobile collided with a stationary object. StatsCan found alcohol/drug use was reported in 49 percent of snowmobile fatalities, while excessive speed was cited in 34 percent of the deaths.
Many accidents occur on the ice, so the Red Cross recommends snowmobiling on no less than 25 centimetres of ice and avoiding grey ice or recently thawed and refrozen ice. They also suggest wearing a lifejacket or survival suit.
Poor judgment, riding alone and riding at night or in unfamiliar areas can contribute to an accident.
What Should You Do If You Have Been Injured?
Accidents happen, and the unforeseen consequences can be catastrophic. If you suffer an outdoor injury this winter, you should first seek medical attention. If you believe you are a victim of negligence, seek legal advice. The law can be complex and confusing when it comes to personal injuries.
Timeliness is vital. Like every province, Alberta has a statute of limitations, which limits when you can file a lawsuit. You should start collecting evidence that can include photographs of the scene and interviews with any witnesses. Again, acting quickly is essential in a winter accident. Weather can change quickly and the scene might look dramatically different even hours later. Write down every detail you can remember leading up to the accident.
AFTER AN ACCIDENT, CONTACT US
A personal injury lawyer can help guide you through your options and help you obtain the compensation you need to help you recover from any injuries. They can also make sure that your insurance company does not attempt to limit the compensation that you are owed. Schedule your Free Consultation by calling (403) 452-2011 or send a message to firstname.lastname@example.org. We will represent you on a contingency fee basis, so we do not get paid for our time and attention until we settle.