What to Do if You Witness a Car Accident

September 21st, 2020

Roughly six million car crashes occur in the U.S. every year. That’s nearly 16,500 crashes every single day! At those numbers, if you haven’t been in an accident yourself, chances are high you’ve seen one happen, or will at some point in the future.

And because motor vehicle crashes have a high risk of causing serious injuries, you may be wondering what you should do when you witness a crash. Call 911? Get out and help? Leave it to the professionals?

Read on to find out.

What to Do When You Witness a Crash

As a witness, you have no legal responsibility to stop and help after a crash, but if you choose to do so, your first priority is to provide assistance only when it does not cause harm to yourself or anyone involved in the crash.

Get out of harm’s way. After a crash,there may bebroken glass and other debris scattered across the road. If you are driving, pull over onto the shoulder or into a parking lot a safe distance away from the crash scene, leaving room for emergency vehicles to get around you, and only exit your vehicle if it is safe to do so. 

Call 911. Never assume someone else has already called 911 unless you see first responders on the scene.While the people involved in a crash may call 911 themselves, they may be unable to do so if they are severely injured, trapped, or unconscious. 

Don’t move victims or offer unqualified medical assistance. This is best left to the professionals, as moving an injured person could make their injuries worse, and EMTs can often arrive in minutes after being alerted to a crash. If a victim is bleeding heavily, applying pressure to wounds using a clean cloth or towel can help until paramedics arrive.

Do offer other forms of help. This can be as simple as offering water, a pen and paper to take down insurance information, or the use of your phone so the victim can call friends or family.

Wait for the police to arrive and give a statement. Car crashes are chaotic events for the people involved, and they may not be able to accurately describe what happened or how it happened, especially if they are in pain from an injury. As an outside observer, your account of what occurred can help determine who was responsible for the crash.

Offer your contact information to one of the drivers. As a witness, the insurance companies involved may want to speak to you to help determine liability, especially if one of the drivers is contesting the information presented in the police report. 

Keep calm and don’t get too involved. Car accidents can be tense scenes, and police and emergency responders need plenty of room to work, assist victims, collect evidence, and file their reports. Stay out of their way and be ready to leave after you’ve spoken with the responding officer and the drivers, if necessary.

If You or Someone You Loved is Hurt in a Crash, Call Dudley DeBosier Injury Lawyers

At Dudley DeBosier, we have years of experience helping people after serious vehicle collisions and wrecks. We also understand the importance of hearing from witnesses and compiling other forms of evidence quickly before it’s lost. When you hire our firm, we will handle the paperwork and dealing with the insurance company so you can focus solely on getting better. And we never charge you for our services unless we win. Contact us today for a free case review.