What to do if You Witness a Car Accident
Do you know what to do if you witness a car accident? It can be a traumatic experience. You may have narrowly missed being involved in the accident, and seeing other people in pain can be difficult and stressful. In the immediate moments after you witness a car accident, it is important to know what you can do to help the victims. As an eyewitness to the accident, your actions and your statements will have a big impact on what happens after the accident.
Secure Your Safety – Immediately after you witness a car accident, the very first thing you should do is to get to a safe place. Protecting yourself and your loved ones is key in the first moments after an accident. Pull your car over to the side of the road safely and turn on your hazards. Be sure you are in a safe place and out of the way of other traffic. Be very cautious when approaching the scene of the accident, as other drivers may not see you.
Call 911 Immediately - Even before you get out of the vehicle, call 911. In a serious accident, minutes can be the difference between life and death. The sooner a police officer and an ambulance can arrive, the sooner the accident victims can receive the critical medical care they need. Even if the victims don’t look injured, it is important to notify the authorities so that they may help secure the accident scene, file a police report, and divert traffic.
Assist Accident Victims - If the accident victims can walk on their own, escort them to a safe area away from the wreckage and the traffic. If they are injured, do NOT attempt to move them. Wait for the paramedics to arrive. Until the paramedics arrive, stay with the accident victims and try to keep them calm. Do not perform medical treatment unless you are certified or qualified to do so.
Stay on the Scene - As an eyewitness, your statement is critical to helping the injured accident victims secure compensation after an accident. The police officer on the scene of the accident will take your statement and this statement may ultimately help determine who is at fault for the accident.
Think about your Statement - The details of the accident will be critical. Try to picture exactly what happened very clearly. Who was responsible, what color car were they driving, did you hear anything? Photographs are especially helpful, so be sure to snap a few pictures of the intersection, accident scene, wreckage or any evidence that you feel is important to the case. As a witness, you may provide clues and information that went unnoticed by the police. Your statement will help investigators piece together exactly what happened in the moments leading up to the crash.
Leave your Information - If possible, leave your contact information with the accident victim. If the accident victim wishes to file a lawsuit, your statements and testimony may be critical to proving their case. Attorneys, medical authorities, police officers, or insurance agents may call upon you for more information. Be sure to tell your story clearly and always tell the truth.
Consider Seeing a Professional - Sometimes after individuals have witnessed a particularly gruesome or tragic accident, they begin to suffer from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. They may have nightmares, difficulty sleeping, anxiety, depression, loss of interest in life, or paralyzing fear. When this occurs, consider speaking to an experienced psychiatrist to help you process the events that you witnessed, so you can move forward into the future.
Witnessing a car accident is scary. Knowing what to do in that situation can make a real difference in the accident victim’s outcome. Remember to maintain your calm and do not put yourself in danger.
Contact Our Denver Car Accident Attorneys
When you are injured in a car accident, it can be a traumatic and painful ordeal. During this time, it is important to have an experienced Denver car accident attorney on your side from the very start. Your attorney will be able to fight for your right to compensation and ensure that you have the money you need to fully recover.