When you witness a car accident, you may not know what to do. Your first thought is probably, “Is everyone okay?” You may even have the urge to pull over and offer assistance. A lot of different thoughts, questions, and concerns may be running through your head.
With all the confusion and chaos that comes with being a part of a car accident, what should you do? Even more importantly, legally, what are the obligations of a car accident witness?
At Brandon J Broderick, Attorney at Law, we understand the fears and concerns that come with not only being in a car accident but also being a car accident witness. Here is what you should do if you witness a car accident.
Call For Help
The first and best thing to do as a car accident witness is to call 911. Those involved in the accident may be unable to call for help, so it is absolutely necessary that you call 911.
When you make the emergency call, please do so in a safe location. Do not attempt to dial the phone while driving a moving vehicle. Pull off and then call 911. You should ensure that you are not blocking any traffic and you have parked and secured your vehicle at a safe distance away from the accident. Parking too close to the accident or blocking cars on the highway can lead to further damage, potential injury, and unsafe driving conditions.
Assess the Situation
When talking with the 911 operator, make sure you are accurate about the details of the accident. The priority is ensuring that those involved in the accident get medical care promptly and survive. The information you provide the emergency services could aid in saving someone’s life.
The 911 operator may provide you with further instructions on what you should do before help arrives. Follow their instructions and make sure that you are not putting yourself in a dangerous position to assist the accident victims.
If it is helpful to the victims of the accident, you may also digitally document the scene of the accident with pictures and videos.
Provide Help Until Emergency Services Arrive on the Scene
Until help arrives, you can provide assistance or comfort to the victims. If a person is injured, you should leave them in place to avoid making any injuries worse than they are. If the 911 operator has any instructions for you to provide temporary medical care until the ambulance arrives, you may do so.
Some laws will protect you, such as the Good Samaritan law that will ensure you avoid legal trouble for assisting someone in the wrong way. However, it is best to let emergency services handle medical care unless there is absolute urgency.
Depending on the severity of the accident, and the victim’s injuries, sometimes the best action to take is being there and asking the victims what would be helpful. Accidents are extremely traumatic, and, likely, the people involved are feeling shaken up from the event.
Talking with the victims and asking what you can do to help is a great way to service them until help arrives.
It is important to note that you should only provide comfort to the victims of an accident. You can report the things you saw to an on-scene police officer. However, it is not appropriate nor helpful to try to play the blame game of who caused the accident. This will likely only cause more issues and upset among all of the victims.
When help arrives at the scene, make sure you report any information to the police officers. You should also give them your contact information. If further information is required, you may be contacted later on to recall the events as a car accident witness.
Things to Remember
It is always better to assist than to not when it comes to being a car accident witness. The help you provide can help traumatized victims and may even save their lives. Always make your safety a priority before assisting others at the scene of an accident. Depending on the severity of the accident, immediate action may be necessary to preserve someone’s life.
Follow directions and cooperate with emergency services when you are a car accident witness. Do everything you feel safe and comfortable doing to help others involved in the accident. Usually, the most valuable thing you can do is be there for them during this traumatizing time.
Brandon J. Broderick, Attorney at Law Is Here for You
If you’ve been involved and injured in a motor vehicle accident, we strongly advise you to contact our firm and speak with an experienced car accident attorney at once. We can negotiate with insurance companies and handle all of the details to help you to help you through the process. If you’ve been injured in a car accident, don’t wait, contact us today for a free consultation. With our proven track record of success and our commitment to client care, we can get you the justice you deserve.
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