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As Arctic Temperatures Move In, Accidents and Injuries are More Likely; Be Sure to Review Your Insurance Policies Now

With bitterly cold temperatures plunging down from the arctic, outdoor conditions are less than optimal for most activities this January, including driving. Temperatures throughout North America have largely been in the negatives accompanied by a bitingly cold wind chill. According to the Weather Channel, at least  15 deaths are blamed on the extreme temperatures in the Midwest and Northeast (Winter Storm Hercules: Weather Channel, January 6, 2014).

Last week it was the Polar Vortex, this week, it’s the Alberta Clippers. The Weather Channel promises the Alberta Clippers will pack a one-two punch. “The first clipper low is now moving through the Great Lakes, bringing blustery winds and a stripe of light-to-moderate snow across these regions.” The second punch comes, as “this low will continue a left-curving trajectory Wednesday, taking it into eastern Canada. However, a sharp cold front will plunge southward all the way to the Gulf Coast, sending temperatures tumbling in the South. In addition, an upper-air disturbance south of the original clipper may help to generate clouds and precipitation over the Southeast.” (Weather.com, Winter’s One-Two Punch: Alberta Clippers to Bringing Cold Air, Snow, Wind to the Midwest and East, January 14, 2014)

Cold has not been the only danger. During Winter Storm Hercules, snowfall reached more than 2 feet in some places and preceded the appearance of the arctic temperatures. These conditions have made traveling very dangerous lately and have caused thousands of flight delays in many of the Northern states. With the Alberta Clipper, Weather.com says blizzard watches have been posted by the National Weather Service for parts of the Dakotas and western and southern Minnesota late Wednesday into Thursday.* (Weather.com, Winter Storm Hercules: At Least 16 Deaths Blamed on Extreme Winter Weather in Northeast, Midwest, January 6, 2014)

“Many Americans, who are housebound due to plunging temperatures can use this time to consider disability insurance options,” says Frank N. Darras, America’s top disability lawyer. “As we’ve seen in the news, this extreme weather can bring serious injuries and even death due to icy road conditions and hypothermia from being outdoors, even for a short time.”

Approximately 11 deaths last week have been blamed on traffic accidents, and government officials in many states advised people to stay indoors and off the roads. One tragic death was the result of a woman with Alzheimer’s disease wandering away from her rural New York home and succumbing to the cold (‘It’s too darn cold’: WXII 12 News, January 6, 2014).

Being aware of the surrounding environment can be a step in the right direction when preparing for extreme weather conditions, whether they are in the summer or winter. Preparing your car for cold-weather driving is essential to reducing potential accidents or the possibility of being stranded. Before the first snow falls, check the fluid levels in the car including antifreeze and the windshield washer. Windshield wipers usually need to be changed every 6-12 months and are instrumental in maintaining proper visibility levels during snow or rainfall. Also, check the tire treads to be sure they can handle ice, snow, and pouring rain.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention provides tips for people to access and use to prepare for harsh winter weather. Preparation for a power outage in a winter event like the Polar Vortex or this week’s Alberta Clipper can mean life or death. Remember to keep an up-to-date emergency kit handy and follow all safety precautions laid out by local emergency response teams (CDC, Be Prepared to Stay Safe and Healthy in Winter, January 8, 2014).

“Disability insurance is for unexpected circumstances that result in an injury, most of which happen outside the workplace. With the wintry conditions of the roads, accidents and car pile-ups are more likely and so are unexpected slip and fall injuries. In the event of a weather-related accident, a disability insurance policy may be your financial saving grace if you cannot work due to injury. Disability insurance coverage is for the unexpected accident, sickness or injury. The benefits of owning a solid disability insurance policy can provide for the family while the breadwinner heals and gets back on her feet and into the workforce,” says Darras.

DarrasLaw is Americas' most honored and decorated disability litigation firm in the country. Mr. Darras has seen more, evaluated more, litigated more, and resolved more individual and group long term disability and long-term care cases than any other lawyer in the United States.

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