Witnessing a Car Accident
You are driving your car involved in your thoughts, and suddenly an unexpected thing happens – you witness an accident in front of you. You get frightened. You get confused. You cannot figure out what to do now. You hope nobody gets harmed. It is making your blood run cold.
Fret not! Nobody witnesses accidents daily, and naturally, we panic while witnessing a car accident. However, by following the correct procedure, you can help others and yourself also.
You may inevitably ask yourself these questions: Should I help them? Should I leave? Should I inform the police? What if I get involved?
First of all, it is important to know that your questions are obvious. We have got you covered as we understand it is not easy to handle such a situation.
First, calm down and take a deep breath. Now follow the below-mentioned tips.
Tips for Car Accident Witness
Think of Your Safety First
If you witness an accident while driving, make sure you take your vehicle to a safe area. Try to keep your vehicle away from the accident scene to give space to emergency vehicles. Ensure you are away from the danger. Now, turn on your hazard lights. Step out of your car only if it is safe. If you are on a busy highway, it is better to be in the car. If you see the need, immediately make a call to the emergency number.
It is not illegal for a car accident witness to leave the accident scene if they or their actions have not contributed to the accident. However, most people strongly feel that they should help the people in need and provide assistance to the police for car accident investigation.
Check on Victim
Offer support only if it is safe to go close to the scene.
If you are trained for emergencies, do not offer medical support immediately unless it’s a do-or-die situation, as you could unknowingly worsen the situation for the victim.
However, you can ask them if they need assistance. You can offer your phone to the victim to inform their relatives or insurance company about the accident. Make them comfortable and exchange reassuring words.
Turn off the ignition to eliminate the risk of catching fire. If the accident is minor, ask the car accident victim if they allow you to set the vehicle on the side of the way to give way to traffic. If not possible, set up road flares and traffic triangles to block the scene and warn other drivers on the road of the accident.
State the Police
State what you have witnessed to the authorities to help them with the accident. Police will ask you for your contact details in case they need any follow-up later.
Even the insurance company or medical authorities can contact you in weeks following the event.
The best way is to stay on the scene and give a witness statement of what you have seen. Be honest, consistent, and practical with the statement you provide.
Be Mindful as a Car Accident Witness
It is important to be mindful while witnessing and giving the statement. The victim can benefit from your statement to the police, especially in case of inappropriate or reckless driving.
Your presence may also help avoid unnecessary fights and arguments between the involved parties. You can also stop the culprit from leaving the accident scene. However, to ensure your safety first, be cautious.
What to Do If the Involved Driver Tries to Escape From the Scene?
Do not attempt to stop the driver physically from escaping the scene. You may be putting your safety at risk.
If they try to escape, note down the car model, license plate number, and driver’s contact information, if mentioned on the car.
If the involved driver is cooperative and needs to leave the scene for some reason, ask them politely if you can take the driver’s car insurance photo. Politely show your concern without speaking with the police.
If the driver at fault tries to escape the scene, remember that you have their car’s information. Give the details to the police, and other official authorities.
Contact us at the Law Offices of Wolf & Pravato
Witnessing a car accident is traumatizing, but you can handle the situation appropriately using the above-given tips. If you have any queries or would like to speak to a Fort Lauderdale car accident lawyer, Contact our South Florida Personal Injury Attorneys from the Law Offices of Wolf and Pravato- a highly professional and experienced lawyers team.