Witnessing a car accident can be a frightening experience, but a responsible witness can make all the difference for the victims of an accident. By following these steps, you can help to keep the victims and other drivers safe before emergency help arrives.
- Pull over.
Pull off the road at least 100 feet or more away from the accident. Turn on your hazard lights to alert other drivers.
- Observe the scene.
Check out the scene to see if anyone is injured, but put your own safety first. Keep your distance from the vehicles and don’t touch anyone in the crash. Avoid any flames or broken glass.
- Call the authorities.
Call 911 if anyone is injured or needs help. Never assume that someone else has already called 911. For minor accidents in which no one was injured, call the police department. Be prepared to answer questions and provide detailed information about the situation, such as the location of the accident, the number of people involved, and the severity of the injuries.
- Provide necessary help.
Try to help to any injured people, but do not move or provide medical treatment to them. Movement can make their injuries worse and perhaps make you liable for their injuries. Wait for trained EMTs to arrive.
Take pictures of the accident scene to give to law enforcement and the drivers of the crashed vehicles.
If absolutely necessary and is safe to do so, help the driver move his or her vehicle out of traffic, but do not drive the vehicle yourself unless instructed by a police officer or other emergency worker. Ask the driver to put the vehicle in park and turn off the ignition to eliminate the risk of fire. Then, if it is safe to do so, push the vehicle to a neutral area. If moving the vehicle is impossible – and only if it is safe to do so – set up traffic triangles or flares near the accident scene to warn other drivers.
- Give a statement.
Once police arrive to the scene, you will likely be asked to give a statement. Give all relevant details, as well as your contact information. When giving your statement, remain impartial and avoid speculation about the cause of the accident, and do not assign fault. Also avoid discussing fault with the people involved in the accident.
- Be available for further comment.
Your duty as a witness doesn’t end after you leave the accident scene. You may be contacted by medical authorities, police officers and/or insurance companies for additional statements. Be sure to keep your story accurate and again avoid speculation.
Do You Need a Car Accident Attorney?
If you are the victim of a car accident, insurance companies may not give you the settlement you deserve. The car accident attorneys at the Law Offices of F. Craig Wilkerson can represent you to help ensure you receive full compensation. Schedule a free case evaluation online or call us at: