What Should You Do If You See a Bad Auto Accident?
Every year millions of car accidents occur in the United States. According to the Association for Safe International Road Travel, more than 38,000 people die every year in automobile accidents. Moreover, one out of three accidents leads to personal injury. Out of that, two in ten accidents involve fatal injuries.
Since the rate of crashes is so high, most of us are likely to witness a car accident at least once in our lifetime. Those who do are likely to ask themselves, “Should I stop to help?”.
There are laws in some states that require accident witnesses to try to assist people in need, but no law puts a legal obligation on the witness to stop and help an accident victim. However, no obligation does not mean we keep driving even after seeing a trivial accident. We must help if it is possible.
It’s even more important to help because negligent drivers can easily escape from the liability and insurance payout in the absence of eyewitnesses. In such cases, victims may not get a fair chance to get compensation. It can be a case, especially in states where there are no personal injury protection insurance laws.
Therefore, rely on your instincts, gauge the environment around you, and stop to help. Here is a list of few things you should do if you are a witness to a car accident.
Things to Do if You See a Bad Car Accident
Keep the following things in mind if you think it is safe, reasonable, and right to stop and help the people involved in the accident –
Ensure Your Safety First
Your safety must be your priority, so ensure you are not in any danger. Park your vehicle in a safe place, maintaining a 100 feet distance from the accident scene. It will not let investigators or responders think that your vehicle is also involved in the crash. Also, keep enough space for the emergency vehicles to reach the scene. Now put on the hazard lights of your vehicle, and get out only when you feel it is safe.
Call Emergency Services
The National Emergency Number Association suggests calling 911 even if you are unsure if the situation is an emergency or not. Never assume that someone has already dialed 911. Give your exact location to the emergency respondent and be prepared to describe the scene.
Offer Support to the Victim, if Possible!
If you feel safe going near the accident scene, head over to see if you can help the victim.
Do the following things to help the victim:
- Ask the victim if they need any assistance or are hurt.
- Offer them your phone if they want to make any call to their friend or family member.
- Set up flares from the emergency kit to protect the accident scene.
- Wait for authorities to arrive before moving any injured person if you are not a professional health attendant.
- Keep talking to the victim to help them stay conscious.
- If possible, turn off the ignition to avoid any fire.
Until the emergency service comes, your clearheaded actions for the safety and protection of yourself and the accident victim can make a big impact on the life of the victim.
Give Your Statement to the Police
As mentioned above, your statement can help the victim get the claim. Therefore, stick around to talk to the police after they have helped the victim at their level. Your statement can also help the authorities and other involved people to get to a fair decision. So be consistent, honest, precise, and factual with it.
Provide your contact details to the police in case they need to contact you further for the follow-up questions related to the accident. Also, let them know if you are comfortable sharing your information with the insurance company or not.
Be Cautious as an Accident Witness
If the accident occurred because of the driver’s negligence, your statement to the police can benefit the victim. However, it will also put the opponent at risk and danger. Therefore, be mindful of your safety.
Any of these actions can impact someone’s life for good. Therefore, try to help the people involved in the accident. If you do not wish to meddle in the legalities, just help with contacting the required health and legal authorities. It can save someone’s life.
Contact The Law Offices of Wolf & Pravato
We hope this post was useful. If you ever find a need to hire a Fort Lauderdale car accident attorney in South Florida, feel free to connect with the Law Offices of Wolf and Pravato experts. Their legal team is qualified to provide the best and practical advice – Contact them here for a free case evaluation.