What Should I Do If I Witness A Car Accident?July 10, 2019
Car accidents happen in the blink of an eye. This means you could easily become an accident witness. When that happens, you need to know the right steps to follow to protect yourself and offer help.
After safely parking your vehicle in a secure spot, away from traffic, call 911 to alert them of the crash. Never assume another motorist, passenger, or pedestrian has done the same. Most people do not call immediately or expect someone else to do it. The faster first responders get to the scene, the sooner they can administer needed medical attention or begin documenting the accident.
Keep a Distance at First
Do not rush to either vehicle without first checking out the lay of the land. For instance, if the drivers seem combative or appear inebriated, you could put yourself in danger if you stepped in. Survey the site and be aware of your surroundings while you call 911. Then, if you feel comfortable approaching the vehicles, go ahead and cautiously interact with the drivers and passengers.
Offer Verbal Assistance
Your role as a witness should be to potentially listen to drivers and passengers. Some may be in shock or appear hurt. Never move anyone who has sustained an injury unless the vehicle is on fire or is at risk of being on fire. Trying to extricate someone with injuries could make their injuries much worse, and possibly turn wounds from serious to life threatening. The best course of action for you is to provide emotional comfort until professional help arrives. Avoid placing blame or making judgments, even if you saw every detail of the accident.
Give a Statement
When first responders arrive, you may be asked to give a statement to police. Be truthful without embellishing any details or pointing fingers. If you’ve already forgotten something you saw only moments earlier, that is okay. Traumatic moments can cause shock, which may lead to memory lapses. Expect to provide your name, address, and phone number to the police and potentially to the drivers’ insurance companies.
Write Down What You Remember
As soon as you can after the accident, write down everything you remember. Use detailed language and put together a timeline of events. You may be called by a representative of one of the insurance carriers or by the police to give more details. For your statements to remain consistent, you should jot down your initial memories.
Prepare for Emotional Distress
Witnessing a car accident, even a minor one, can lead to emotional distress. For example, if a child was hurt, you might experience flashbacks to seeing the child bleeding or crying. Document these experiences and contact a physician to get help.
Media PA Car Accident Lawyers at the Law Office of Deborah M. Truscello Help Victims Injured in All Types of Car Accidents
Being a witness to a car crash allows you to help victims if they are denied damages for their expenses or pain and suffering. At the Law Office of Deborah M. Truscello, our Media PA car accident lawyers often work with crash witnesses to help reconstruct scenes. Call us today at 610-892-4940 or contact us online to set up a free consultation to discuss your case. Located in Media, Pennsylvania, we serve clients throughout Media, Delaware County, and West Chester.