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Car Accidents / 4.12.2024

Mississippi Strong: Weathering the Storm and Protecting Yourself on the Road

Mississippi's resilience is legendary, especially regarding weather conditions. From enduring scorching summers to facing the brunt of powerful storms, the spirit of the people here remains unbroken. However, the recent severe weather event that swept through the state serves as a stark reminder of the dangers posed by extreme weather conditions, particularly for those on the road.

Richard Schwartz & Associates Injury Lawyers stands with the Mississippi community during these challenging times. While we celebrate the strength and support residents have shown each other, we also want to emphasize the importance of safety on the roads during and after such weather events.

The Increased Risk of Accidents During Storms and Other Extreme Weather

The recent storm in Mississippi tragically resulted in loss of life and property damage. Every storm brings with it a higher risk of injury and even death, especially if you have to drive in these extreme conditions. Poor weather significantly elevates the risk of car accidents and injuries for drivers across the state. Here are some risk factors to keep in mind:

  • Reduced Visibility: Heavy rain, hail, and strong winds can drastically reduce visibility. This makes it difficult for drivers to see approaching vehicles, road hazards, and pedestrians, significantly increasing the risk of collisions.
  • Slippery Roads: Downpours create slick road conditions, especially on streets with poor drainage or those covered in leaves and debris. This reduces traction, making it harder for drivers to control their vehicles, especially when braking or turning.
  • Flooded Roads: Flash floods and rising water levels can turn roads into impassable rivers. Attempting to drive through flooded areas is extremely dangerous and can lead to car accidents and even drownings.
  • High Winds: Strong winds can push vehicles around, making it difficult to maintain control. This is particularly hazardous for high-profile vehicles like trucks and SUVs.
  • Debris and Fallen Trees: Storms often cause debris like fallen branches, power lines, and loose objects to scatter across roadways. Hitting such debris can cause severe damage to vehicles and lead to accidents.
  • Power Outages: Traffic lights might be malfunctioning due to power outages, leading to confusion and potentially causing accidents at intersections.

Staying Safe on Mississippi Roads During and After Storms

Your safety is paramount, especially when driving in dangerous conditions. As many as 21% of all car accidents in the United States are caused by weather-related factors. Knowing these risks, here are some crucial safety tips to remember during and after severe weather events:

  • Stay off the road if possible
  • Slow down
  • Increase following distance
  • Turn on headlights
  • Avoid sudden maneuvers
  • Be extra cautious at intersections
  • Beware of flooding

Protecting Yourself After a Storm-Related Accident

Accidents can happen even if you take all necessary precautions. If you are unfortunately involved in a weather-related accident:

Seek Medical Attention

The first thing you should do after any car accident is to check for injuries and seek medical attention immediately. Even if you do not think your injuries merit an ER visit, it’s better to be safe than sorry. 

Many injuries worsen over time if not treated or symptoms may be delayed because of the adrenaline produced during a major event like a car wreck.The most responsible thing to do is always to seek medical attention for any and all injuries. 

Move Your Vehicle if Possible

If your vehicle is drivable and does not pose a safety hazard, move it to the side of the road to avoid further accidents. With limited visibility during storms, leaving your vehicle in the way of other vehicles can be extremely dangerous for you and your property. 

Document the Scene

Take pictures and videos of the accident scene, damage to vehicles, weather conditions, and any road hazards that might have contributed to the accident. This can help you during any potential insurance claims or lawsuits. 

You should also make sure that you exchange contact information with all parties involved, including witnesses, and keep those contacts on-hand in case you need them in the future. Evidence like witness statements can be pivotal in determining fault if it is ever challenged or helping you reach a fair settlement with your insurance company. 

Report the Accident

You should file a police report immediately after an accident, regardless of the severity of the accident. It is always best to call law enforcement out to the scene of an accident where they will file an accident report, but if you and all other parties involved agree to forgo on-scene police response, you must file it on your own. 

You should also report any accidents to your insurance company as soon as possible. Failure to report accidents in a timely manner can cause your insurance company to reject your claim or even cancel your policy. 

When to Seek Legal Counsel

While the hope is that everyone involved in a storm-related accident walks away unharmed,  injuries are a harsh reality of such situations. If you sustained injuries due to the accident, consider seeking legal advice from a qualified personal injury attorney like Richard Schwartz & Associates Injury Lawyers. 

An attorney can help you navigate the complexities of insurance claims and fight for the compensation you deserve. Personal injury lawsuits and negotiating with insurance companies can be daunting but you don’t have to go at it alone. 

Contact our office today to schedule your free consultation!

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