What Should I Do if I Witness a Car Crash?

male-witness-talking-to-female-copSince drivers rarely admit fault for a car accident, having a credible witness could be helpful. Sometimes drivers are fearful that their insurance rates will skyrocket, or they may have to come out-of-pocket to cover the damages.

Credible witnesses can help determine driver negligence and play an important role in determining the outcome of an accident claim. Witnesses not only provide a neutral statement of facts; they may help people who may be too injured to call for help.

Precautions to Take After Witnessing a Car Accident

If you witness a car accident, you may be able to assist the accident victims. If you find yourself in this situation, follow these important steps to keep yourself and others safe:

  • Park safely – If you are driving, park your car in a safe location away from the accident scene to avoid causing another crash.
  • Approach with caution – Be alert and monitor the scene of the accident as you approach. Even in the case of a minor collision, you could be walking into a dangerous situation, such as the chance of an explosion or fire after a crash or drivers affected by road rage that could take their anger out on you.
  • In the case of a hit-and-run collision – Never attempt to chase or stop a hit-and-run driver. He or she might feel afraid and could resort to violence to make a getaway. Instead, try to write down or take a picture of the license plate number and report the hit-and-run accident immediately to the police.
  • Dial 911 for medical assistance – If anyone has been injured in the accident, do not try to move the injured victims yourself. Instead, describe the situation to the 911 operator and follow instructions given over the phone. If you try to move the injury victims, you could be held liable for worsening their condition.
  • Be patient and keep calm – It could seem like first responders are taking forever to arrive, especially if the injuries are severe. However, it is important to keep the situation calm and avoid discussions about who caused the accident. Instead, wait until the authorities arrive so you can provide an official statement about what you saw.
  • Wait until the police allow you to leave – You may be needed for further information. After you provide everything needed, ask the police if you can leave the scene. When you exit the scene, drive slowly and look out for pedestrians or additional emergency vehicles.
  • Record your account of what happened – You may be asked to provide additional information in the future. When there is a dispute between the two parties involved, you may be contacted by a lawyer for an interview about the events leading up to the accident. Credible witness statements could hold significant weight in determining fault for a crash.
  • Monitor your own health – Sometimes experiencing a serious accident could cause trauma, even if you are not directly involved in the crash. Feelings of depression, anxiety, guilt and worrying could affect your sleeping and eating habits. Contact a health care professional to seek counseling if you are having difficulty dealing with these symptoms.

Witnessing a significant vehicle collision can be difficult to deal with, especially if there are serious injuries or fatalities. Although you are not required by law to stay at the scene of an accident if you were not involved, you could make a significant difference, including ensuring the safety of the injured victims. Your statements as a credible witness may also be critical to the outcome of an injury claim.

Call an Experienced Attorney to Learn More

If you or someone you know was injured in an accident, having an experienced attorney could help obtain the compensation needed to recover. We recommend contacting a Sacramento car accident attorney at the Arnold Law Firm as soon as possible.

Have questions? We have answers. (916) 777-7777