What Should I Do If I Witness a Car Accident?Published: Jun 26, 2019 in Auto Accident, Personal Injury
Witnessing a car accident can be a very traumatic event. Depending upon the seriousness of the crash, there could be multiple injuries, fatalities, and dangers at the accident scene itself, including the risks of fuel fires and oncoming traffic. What you do next can either help the victims of the accident or endanger you and those in your vehicle.
No one is legally obligated to stop or stay at the scene of a car accident if they are just a witness, but doing so can provide lifesaving assistance to injured victims. Witness testimony provided by those who come upon an accident scene can be very helpful in an accident investigation. Determining liability for a car accident can significantly affect the amount of compensation a victim can claim.
Witnesses to a car accident need to ensure their own safety before assisting accident victims. Witnesses should:
- Pull over and come to a complete stop on the side of the road before exiting the vehicle.
- Look for oncoming traffic before approaching the cars and victims involved in the crash.
- Assess injuries when possible, but refrain from moving injured victims unless they are in immediate danger of further harm.
- Call 911 to alert police, fire, and ambulance personnel that an accident has occurred.
- Be prepared to tell emergency operators the location of the accident, how many vehicles are involved in the accident, and if there are any obvious injuries.
- Remain calm and assure those involved in the crash that help is on the way.
- When possible, offer those involved in the accident your name and contact information for witness testimony if needed during the accident investigation.
- Take pictures on your cell phone to help substantiate your testimony later.
Providing Witness Testimony
As a witness to a car accident, your testimony can provide vital information in deciding liability. It is important to make observations and remember certain details, such as:
- Where were you at the time of the accident? Did you witness the actual crash, or did you come upon the accident scene after the crash occurred?
- What led up to the accident? Did you witness aggressive driving, speeding, or recklessness? Were weather conditions hazardous? Did one of the drivers cross over into another lane?
- Be specific in details, but refrain from taking sides. Report only the facts without making assumptions.
- Did any of the victims of the crash make statements to you that would indicate fault?
- Record the details of the accident so you can remember them in the event your testimony is not called for until a later date.
St. Clair County Car Accident Lawyers at The Cates Law Firm, LLC Help Victims of Car Accidents Claim Compensation
If you or someone you know was a victim of a car accident, the St. Clair County car accident lawyers at The Cates Law Firm, LLC can help. We will hold the negligent party accountable for your injuries. Call us at 618-277-3644 or contact us online to schedule a free consultation today. Located in Swansea, Illinois, we serve clients throughout Belleville, Carbondale, East St. Louis, Granite City, Edwardsville, Chester, Waterloo, St. Louis, Madison County, St. Clair County, Monroe County, and Randolph County.