Safe Holiday Family Travel Tips for During the Pandemic
Just before Thanksgiving, Fortune released a study that showed 1 in 3 Americans plan to travel during the 2020 holiday season. During a typical holiday season, winter driving conditions, more cars on the roads, traffic jams and more driving distractions make holiday travel a risky affair. However, during the COVID-19 pandemic, travelers face different risks. Some of the usual dangers on the road will still be present, but more health precautions must be taken during these uncertain times.
The shortest advice we can offer is to be smart and be safe. However, if you’re not used to traveling during the holiday season, or need a refresher, here are some tips to help you stay safe during your travels. And hopefully out of a personal injury attorney’s office next year.
Covid-19 Safety Precautions
The 2020 holiday season will undoubtedly be different from other past holiday seasons. The guidance given by the Centers for Disease Control, in order to stay the safest, is to stay home. However, many people are planning on gathering for the holiday season.
Social distancing, frequent handwashing, and wearing a mask around people you don’t live with are musts for safe holiday family gatherings. Alternative measures you can take include using disposable dinnerware, gathering outside and limiting the size of your gatherings.
For more information about established COVID-19 guidelines, visit the CDC website or the COVID-19 in Iowa website.
Iowa Winter Driving Safety Tips
One of the most common forms of transportation that families will take during the holiday season is the highway. With more people on the roads, the greater the likelihood of car crashes and other dangers. Winter weather especially leads to cars spiraling out of control, and cold temperatures lead to cars losing power and getting stranded.
In order to avoid an Iowa winter car accident, remember to follow all safe driving practices. Start by planning ahead and leaving early for your destination, especially if snow is in the forecast. Remember not to exceed the speed limit. Faster speeds on snowy or icy roads significantly increase the risk of accidents. Leaving early will especially help you avoid the need to speed.
For experienced winter drivers, it’s almost second nature to check the weather forecast before you leave. That way you can be prepared for harsh driving conditions and plan to take alternate routes. If you’re traveling within the state of Iowa, make sure to use the Iowa 511 service to receive updates on driving conditions.
You may be familiar with the signs that say “bridge ices before road” pay attention to those especially if the road on the bridge looks shiny or wet. In cold temperatures, ice can stay on bridges longer than it can on the roads. One danger, in particular, is black ice, because it blends in with the asphalt on the roads and can make drivers lose control when they think they’re safe. Your local news stations can help you know where to be more aware of these risks.
What to Do If You’re In a Winter Auto Accident
Just like with other Iowa car accident cases, the first thing you need to do is make sure you and your passengers are safe. If possible, move your vehicle off of the road and then notify emergency services and police authorities that a crash occurred. Until they arrive, stay safe and warm as much as possible while you talk to other people on the scene.
Establish Lines of Communication
Exchange both contact and insurance information with the other parties involved in the crash. Also, talk to as many witnesses as possible and record their account of the accident. Ask them if they would be willing to give their testimony in court and then exchange contact information with them.
Get Medical Attention to Create Medical Records
Seek medical attention as soon as you can, even if you are not seriously hurt. Even if you just take the time to visit your doctor for a physical exam after your accident, you will be creating medical records that show you were in an accident and were injured. These medical records will be important evidence if you need to make a formal auto accident lawsuit in court.
Give Your Testimony to the Police
When the police show up at the scene, give a detailed report regarding the accident, and then ask for a copy. If they cannot give you a copy of their official report, you may request one from the Iowa Department of Transportation.
You should also gather evidence on the scene in order to support your insurance claim and potential case. If possible take pictures or have a witness take pictures for you. Additionally, you should take notes and write down as many details of the accident as possible. Capturing the evidence as soon as possible could save you from losing compensation.
Contact an Iowa Auto Accident Lawyer
Finally, you should talk to an expert Iowa car and auto accident attorney. Our personal injury attorneys at Galligan Law in Des Moines, Iowa have many years of experience fighting for and winning compensation for our clients.
Should I Work With A Car Accident Attorney if I’m Not Suing Someone?
The answer is yes! Our Iowa auto accident attorneys can handle all of the communication between you, your insurance, the defendant and their insurance. Involving a legal expert from an accredited law firm will ensure your case has the best chance of succeeding so you can win the compensation you need.
Furthermore, an attorney can help you avoid the loopholes that insurance companies use to avoid paying out the maximum amount of damage awards.
During Your Vacation
Once you’ve gotten where you’re going, make sure to still stay safe during the pandemic. Different states have different levels of COVID-19 guidelines and are at differing levels of reopening. We encourage you to be a good citizen by maintaining the preventative guidelines established wherever your destination.
Outside of health guidelines, other things you can do to stay safe during the holidays include driving safely, drinking responsibly and securing your home properly.
Are Hotels Safe During COVID-19?
In order to remain open, established businesses like hotels had to commit to Iowa safety regulations. Therefore, most hotels should be safe for you to stay at. However, you should still adhere to safety guidelines, limit your exposure to other guests, avoid spending time in common areas, and do your best to keep things sanitary.
The safest hotels to stay at are participants in the Stay Safe Initiative from The American Hotel & Lodging Association. Hotels participating in this initiative receive special training to ensure the safety of guests. Several will identify hotel rooms with a door sign or seal so guests know that their room is clean.
You should still use hand sanitizer frequently in order to minimize your exposure rate.
Can I File a Lawsuit Against a Business if I Get COVID?
If you want to file a personal injury case related to you contracting the coronavirus, you will need strong evidence. The purpose of personal injury lawsuits is to help victims of negligence win compensation for physical damages or injuries. Damages for emotional pain and suffering may also be awarded in conjunction with physical damage awards.
However, if you were to sue a business for allowing you to contract COVID-19, you would have to prove that you most likely contracted the virus at said business. Furthermore, you would have to prove that they were not following or enforcing protective measures, and thus negligently increased your risk of contracting the virus.
Next, you would also have to show evidence of physical or economic damages. In other personal injury lawsuit cases, evidence of economic damages includes lost wages and medical bills. Remember, the more solid evidence you have, the more likely your case will succeed.
Personal Injury & Auto Accident Lawyers in Des Moines, Iowa
If you suspect you have a case relating to COVID-19, an auto accident, a large trucking accident, medical malpractice or liability law, call Galligan Law today for a free case evaluation.