Know Your Rights After an Accident Involving Snow or Ice in Pennsylvania
The holiday season is right around the corner, and in Pennsylvania, that means we will likely soon be dealing with snow and ice. As the temperatures drop and the New Year approaches, we typically get at least a couple of bouts of winter weather each year.
While snow and ice can provide a nice backdrop for the holidays, they can also be dangerous. Each year, many Pennsylvania residents and visitors suffer serious injuries in winter weather-related accidents. Tragically, some of these accidents prove fatal as well. To protect yourself and your family, it is important to make sure you know your legal rights—and how to assert them effectively if necessary.
What Are Your Rights After an Accident Involving Snow or Ice?
Whether you get injured in a car accident, slip-and-fall, or any other type of accident involving snow or ice, you have clear legal rights under Pennsylvania law. Your rights after a weather-related accident in Pennsylvania include:
- The Right to See a Doctor of Your Choosing – When you have a winter weather-related accident claim, you have the right to see a doctor of your choosing. While you may need to choose an in-network provider when relying on your health insurance (depending on your policy), auto insurance companies and other insurers cannot tell you where to go for treatment after an accident.
- The Right to Find Out Exactly Why the Accident Happened – While snow or ice may have been a factor in your accident, there is a good chance that it wasn’t the only factor involved. Driver negligence, homeowner negligence, and poor commercial property management are all common factors as well. You have the right to find out exactly why your accident happened so that you can hold the responsible party (or parties) accountable.
- The Right to File All Available Insurance Claims – After an accident involving snow or ice, you have the right to file all available insurance claims. Depending on the circumstances, this may include one or more auto insurance claims, a homeowner’s insurance claim, a commercial general liability (CGL) insurance claim, an umbrella insurance claim, and/or others.
- The Right to Recover Just Compensation for Your Losses – Regardless of the claim (or claims) you can file, you are entitled to just compensation for all of your accident-related losses. This includes not only your medical bills and lost wages (both now and in the future), but your current and future emotional trauma, pain and suffering, and other non-financial losses as well.
- The Right to Hire a Personal Injury Lawyer in Pennsylvania – You also have the right to hire a personal injury lawyer to handle your claim (or claims) on your behalf. You should not let the insurance companies tell you otherwise. While they may not want to deal with a lawyer, hiring an experienced lawyer is one of the best things you can do to maximize your chances of a full financial recovery after a winter weather-related accident.
These are not all of your legal rights, but they are among the most important rights to know after an accident involving snow or ice in Pennsylvania. If you need to file a claim after a winter-related accident, knowing your rights—and knowing how to protect them—will be key to recovering the financial compensation you deserve.
5 Steps to Take After a Winter Weather-Related Accident
So, now that you know some of your legal rights after an accident involving snow or ice in Pennsylvania, what do you need to know to protect them? Here are five important steps to take after any winter weather-related accident:
1. Seek Medical Treatment Promptly
Seeking medical treatment promptly will help ensure that the effects of your injuries are no greater than necessary. It will also help ensure that you are able to assert your legal rights effectively. When filing a claim for an accident involving snow or ice, you need to be able to prove that you suffered your injuries in the accident. One of the best ways to do this is by seeing a doctor as soon after the accident as possible.
2. Keep Your Photos and Take Notes
Since snow and ice disappear, it is important to try to preserve as much evidence as you can. With this in mind, if you were able to take photos (or videos) at the accident scene, you should be sure to keep these to share with your lawyer. You should also take detailed notes, and you should hire a personal injury lawyer to investigate promptly.
3. Prioritize Your Physical and Financial Recovery
As you work on moving forward from the accident, you should prioritize your physical and financial recovery. While dealing with the insurance companies can be frustrating, you need to make sure you do everything you can to recover the financial compensation you deserve. While your personal injury lawyer will communicate with the insurance companies for you, you will still need to play an active role in the process.
4. Avoid Costly Mistakes
While you are working through the recovery process, you will also need to be careful to avoid costly mistakes. Even if you are clearly entitled to financial compensation for a winter weather-related accident, if you make mistakes, you may find yourself unable to recover the financial compensation you deserve.
5. Schedule a Free Consultation
Given the frustrations and challenges involved with recovering from an accident involving snow or ice, it is important to have an experienced personal injury lawyer on your side. Hiring a personal injury lawyer costs nothing out-of-pocket, and the first step is to schedule a free consultation.
Contact the Personal Injury Lawyers at Drake, Hileman & Davis PC
With offices in Allentown, Bethlehem, Doylestown, Easton and Stroudsburg, we represent victims of winter weather-related accidents throughout Pennsylvania. If you need to know more about your legal rights after an accident involving snow or ice, we invite you to call 888-777-7098 or contact us online to arrange a free consultation with a personal injury lawyer at Drake, Hileman & Davis PC.